A reminder to everyone that a good way to prepare for Christmas this Advent is to practice the meditations in this book of 'Meditations for Advent'.
A sample:"Behold, the Lord cometh, and all His saints with Him; and in that day there shall be a great light." All. Ant. at Lauds.
"And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord shall bind up the wound of His people, and shall heal the stroke of their wound." (Is. xxx. 26.)
1st Prelude. - Represent to yourself the Heart of the Infant Jesus in the womb of Mary as a flame of clear and beautiful light coming to enlighten all nations. Represent also to yourself the terrible light of the second coming, which will be open and manifest to all.
2nd Prelude. - Pray that you may be so enlightened by the light of the first coming, that you may not be terrified by the light of the second coming.
1st Point. - Look at the Heart of the Infant Jesus. It lies hidden in the womb of Mary, even as his blessed Humanity will be hidden hereafter in the tabernacle. Oh, what a holy, beautiful, peaceful light is the light of the Infant Heart of Jesus! How it longs to come forth and manifest itself to all, to console, to instruct, to illuminate! Are we, also, longing to receive this light? Are we praying with our whole hearts that it may come to us, and that we may be prepared to receive it? However great our spiritual enlightenment may be, we are still, in some measure, "sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death." But the light is coming; already we can see the dawn upon the mountain. When Mary was born, the first ray of light tinged the eastern sky; when Jesus was born, the light of this mystic moon was as the light of the true sun, because of her perfect union with Him; and the light of the sun was sevenfold, as the light of seven days. The light was sevenfold; that is, the light was perfect, for it was the light of God.
2nd Point. - Let us beseech the Infant Jesus to enlighten us in that particular way in which we most need light. We are all "born blind" through the sin of our parents; and, unhappily, though we have obtained light in the waters of baptism, we too often, by our own fault, relapse into blindness more or less intense. Sometimes we do not wish to see the sin we should forsake, or the virtue we should practise, because it would cost us something to act upon this light; sometimes we profit so little by the light, that it is withdrawn from us, or it is not imparted in the fullness and brightness with which more faithful souls are favoured. There are souls in whom the light of God shines so brightly, that they cannot commit the shadow of an imperfection without perceiving it immediately; there are souls in whom that light shines so resplendently, that they see even the shadow of an imperfect motive in the best action they perform. Why should we not be thus favoured? It is not because the light is unwilling to come, but because we are unwilling to receive it.
3rd Point. - What shall we do to obtain this great grace? Let us go to Mary. Let us devote our Advent to Mary. Let us consecrate every thought, word, and action to Mary during this holy season; and then, on the blessed Christmas morning, she will herself place her Infant in our arms; nay, rather, she will lay Him down to rest in our hearts; and He is so obedient to His sweet mother, that He will never stir from the heart wherein she places Him, unless she comes to take Him away. Surely we will not oblige her to do so? Advent should be a time of special devotion to Mary. Jesus again lies mystically in her womb. Again she pleads unweariedly for her people, as she pleaded in that blessed Advent when He took flesh of her flesh, and bone of her bone. Oh, let us kneel before her now as we would have knelt before her then, and implore her to intercede for us with Jesus, to obtain for us that He may indeed be our light, and that we may never be of the number of those who prefer darkness. Then, indeed, may we hope that the light of His second coming will be a light of glory to us, and not a light of condemnation.
Aspiration. - Come and enlighten us, O sweet Infant Jesus.
Form your resolution, and place it in the Heart of the Infant Jesus. Examen of Meditation.