"Like so many precious things, Advent can be, and often is, trivialized. Advertisers and merchants use every type of media to sell things for the winter holidays. And while giving gifts is not a bad thing, it can become simply a duty, a custom, even a resented burden."
"At the same time, behind all the tinsel and triviality of the season, there is something very important. Our Lord Jesus Christ calls it the 'mystery of the kingdom of God.' And it has been given to us to believe and to know this mystery. The coming of our Lord is a mystery."
"Not long ago I heard a seminary teacher referring to the coming of the Lord as a myth. Christ's Incarnation, in which He takes on Himself a human body and soul, is not a myth. How silly and even deceptive it is to use such a term referring to the mysteries of God. Myths are made by human beings. They can be used to communicate some truth, Like George Washington and his cherry tree. But a myth is an idea or image you can interpret any way you like. Santa Claus is a myth. He can be the historical figure of Saint Nicholas of Myra, bishop of Bari, from whom the Santa Claus image is drawn. Or he can be the silly old elf holding a gigantic bottle of whiskey in the liquor store window."
"Jesus Christ is not a myth. He is the mystery of God. Einstein described a mystery as a reality we can perceive but not penetrate with our human mind -- a reality filled with wonder and beauty. This great scientist called the appreciation of mystery the cradle of all science and art and the truest expression of religious experience."
"Advent calls the thoughtful soul to ponder the mystery of Christ the Lord. This mystery should put us prayerfully on our knees. 'Who shall stand when He appears?' the prophet asks. The answer is, only a fool stands when He appears. A wise person falls and kneels at least in mind and heart." (Behold, He Comes: Meditations on the Incarnation, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., Charis Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2001, pp. 17-18.)
(Do yourself a favor and buy yourself and/or the kids a great book for Christmas. Fr. Groeschel is just one example of an excellent author. Matthew Kelly is another favorite spiritual writer.)
Advent beckons us to deeper and longer time in prayer each day. Along with all the festivities that probably cannot be avoided, slow down and enter into the mystery of the Incarnation by prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture and other mediations. Faithfully attend Sunday Mass or your church's worship service. Be wise and fall on your knees in humble adoration of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for your personal existence and hope for eternal life.
Do you want joy in your life? Fall on your knees in prayer and behold the mystery of the Word made flesh.