My latest missive runs in this week's Catholic Telegraph. Fighting the secularism of the lost season of Advent, the Prophetess Anna provides an excellent model of how to prepare for Christmas. A snippet:
As the days continue to shorten and the weather turns colder, we prepare once again for the coming of the Christ Child. His birth had long been foretold through the prophets of Israel, but they had fallen silent over the past 200 years or so. Into the silence, the angel Gabriel steps into human history to announce tidings of great joy: the Messiah is on His way!
As we go through Advent, we must still have this awareness, but with the rampant commercialism that has become of Christmas, it can be hard to recognize His coming. Between Christmas music starting before Halloween, loud sale advertisements filling TV and radio waves and the necessities of trimming the tree and decking the halls, it can be very easy to miss the deeper meaning of this holy season: Christ is coming to bring us salvation!
In the midst of the sometimes chaotic nature of this season, the prophetess Anna, mentioned above in the infancy narrative from Luke’s Gospel account, presents a model of how we should anticipate the Lord’s coming. It is based in three things: prayer, fasting, and sacrifice.