During this time of year, we often hear about the “Christmas season” or the “Advent season.” Because of the secular celebration for Christmas, the deeper meaning for the Church is watered down. Why does this matter?

Well, again, Advent is a season in our liturgical year – not that different from Lent.

In very simple terms, you could say that Lent is a season of penance, and Advent is a season of preparation.

The USCCB states, “the Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas.”

A fitting analogy for this season of anticipation is having family over for the holidays. If we know that we’re going to have guests in our homes, do we just sit idly by waiting for the day the arrive? Probably not.

We’d probably tidy up, vacuum, make sure the guest room is ready, hopefully shower, etc. Then, should preparing for Christ’s coming be any different? Let’s take this time to put our own ‘spiritual house’ in order.

There are plenty of options that we should all strive for during Advent (Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving), but we’ve got one in particular that’s the challenge these next two weeks: Confession.

Confession is one of those things that you can always find an excuse not to go (that should be an indicator that it’s probably really important). So, if you haven’t been in a long time or you just went a month ago, take advantage of this time to go. For all of the fears, doubts, and worries you have going in, there’s no greater feeling than walking away from the confessional with the weight of your sins lifted.

To prepare for confession, here are two examination of consciences. Pick one that fits you, and read it before you receive the sacrament. Single or Married

Last point about Confession – a lot of times we’re worried that the priest is going to be appalled or judge us harshly because of our sins, etc. In response to this concern, I once heard a priest say this: “Don’t worry – I’ve either done it, thought about doing it, or figured out a way to do it better.” A comical way to say – nothing will shock them.

Be the Men.