The weeks of Advent prepare for Christmas,
all we associate with Christmas prepares us for Jesus,
for his birth in the love of Mary and Joseph.
All of us can be like John the Baptist,
preparing a room for Jesus Christ in our families,
among friends, in schools and workplaces,
preparing a room in our hearts for love.
Or Christmas weeks can be like empty tinsel,
singing the songs of Christmas and forgetting the birth,
or playing Santa and pretending love,
or being so busy that you wish it was already over.

But it need not be like this.

Allow times these days for prayer,
for moments taken in a busy day,
like stopping in the heavy traffic
and just remembering that Jesus is near.
Take time for friendship, for love, for care,
for those activities that grow our friendship and love
with the people who mean a lot.
Then the songs will be full
and gifts will be a reminder of love,
and Santa, the friend of children,
will be like the Christ-child. Donal Neary SJ