The weather is turning cold and crisp. The leaves are falling off the trees. Houses are lighted up in the evening. It’s official. Christmas is here. And most of us have a “todo” list a mile long. There are gifts to buy, travel plans to make, decorations to put up, and a ton of other logistics. But there are many important tasks that we tend to leave off the Christmas chore list. While we remember the Christmas season, we often forget that it is also the season of Advent.
Much like how we clean the house for Christmas guests, our souls could use a little house keeping during Advent. Think about all the time you will spend making everything “just right” for your guests. But there is one person you should remember on your guest list — Jesus Christ. As the saying goes, “He’s the reason for the season.” And Jesus isn’t awed by the size of your outdoor lighting display, how nice the dining room table is set, or any gifts under the tree. What He would really like to see is a clean soul. You want to make Jesus’ Christmas? Think about receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I’m reminded of the First Luminous Mystery of the rosary — Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan. We hear the words of John the Baptist to repent and prepare the way for the Lord. The whole point of Advent is that it is a time of preparation. We prepare ourselves to fully celebrate Christmas and receive God‘s grace by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I know many of you are probably thinking that going to Confession is real downer and that I mixed up Advent with Lent. Many of us want to think about “happy things” during the holidays, not confess what we’ve done wrong. But if you were willing to fight the crowds at midnight on Black Friday, battle for that last parking space at the mall, and wander throughout town to find the last Elmo doll, then Confession will a breaze. And unlike some cheaply made trinket that will occupy closet space in a few weeks, the gifts from the Holy Spirit received during Confession is something you can keep for a long time. Through Reconciliation, you have a brand new start in the Lord’s grace which might be the foundation for leading a holy life. To borrow another common expression, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” So why not start it on the best foot possible?
If you are scared to go to Confession, try picking up a rosary and praying a few decades every day. Ask the Holy Spirit, Mary, and all the saints for the courage to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We have a little over three weeks left in Advent. With a little prayer we can all find that energy to get that one last present on our gift list for Jesus.