Advent extends over the four Sundays leading up to Christmas and is a period of preparation leading to the celebration of the birth of Christ. Traditionally, Advent is marked by an increase in prayer and good works.
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, welcomed Advent with a message encouraging us to let go of worldly distractions and to remain focused on God and on strengthening our relationship with Him.
Pope Francis implored us to remain vigilant and watchful throughout the Advent season and to keep our hearts filled with prayer and concern for others.
“The watchful person is one who, in the noise of the world, does not let themselves be overwhelmed by distraction or superficiality, but lives in a full and conscious way, with concern above all for others,” the Holy Father, Pope Francis, said on Sunday.
He added that, by maintaining this attitude of attentiveness, we cannot help but become acutely aware “of the tears and necessity of our neighbour and we can also welcome the human and spiritual qualities and capacities”. In being attentive, an individual “also turns to the world, trying to counteract indifference and the cruelty of it, rejoicing in the treasures of beauty that also exist and must be preserved”.
Pope Francis went on to remind us all that the Advent season is an opportunity “to welcome the Lord who comes to meet us, to verify our desire for God, to look ahead and prepare ourselves for the return of Christ”.
Now that Advent is upon us, Pope Francis’ message serves as an important reminder of the true meaning of Christmas – celebrating the birth of Christ.