Truth in Charity

by Bishop Lawrence Persico

Advent is so much more than a prelude to Christmas. It's a sacred space for deep reflection and spiritual preparation. This season invites us to consider the twofold nature of awaiting Christ: celebrating his birth and preparing for his second coming.

advent candlesI urge you not to let the rush of holiday preparations cloud the true purpose of Advent. It's easy to get lost in the festivities and forget to prepare our hearts. This Advent, let it be a season of gratitude for the blessings we've received and of introspection on how we prepare ourselves for the Lord's eventual return — either at the end of time or at the conclusion of our individual journeys on this earth.

If you're pondering ways to make this Christmas different, consider this: The warmth and goodwill we often experience during the holiday season need not be temporary. Why does that sense of community and shared joy have to end on December 26? Make it your resolution to carry these virtues with you into the New Year and beyond. Whether it's a commitment to regular volunteering, setting aside time to check in on those who may need a little extra care, or even just sharing a smile and kind words, small acts can have a large and lasting impact.

In essence, our goal should be to make the Christmas spirit a permanent fixture in our lives, rather than a temporary holiday mood. That doesn’t mean the challenges and complexities of daily life will fade away, but we can face them with a greater sense of compassion, focus and grace — values that truly reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ.

As we close another year, let us be mindful not just of the joy and blessings that the Christmas season brings but also of how we can extend that spirit of generosity and love throughout the coming year. In doing so, we find the true essence of what it means to be followers of Christ.

I wish all of you a spiritually enriching Advent and a Christmas filled with true and lasting joy.