Granted, Lent leads up to the pinnacle of Christian belief: The Resurrection. But, you can't have the Resurrection with the Nativity.
Certainly, Advent is a happier time than Lent. Other than Planned Parenthood, who doesn't like a Baby? But, I think we should still be penitant and thankful-as we are during Lent-in Advent as well.
I know for myself, I usually have a pretty firm Lenten plan but I often don't have much of one for Advent beyond avoiding busy stores at all costs and making sure I get all my gifts purchased and my cards mailed out.
Here's my plan for Advent 2008 A.D.:
1) Continue to pray the Rosary daily. I joined the Confraternity this year but even before I joined I was already praying the Rosary daily. There are many other benefits to being in the Confraternity, you should check it out! You've heard me gripe in the past that I could not pray the Rosary in the car because I was too apt to lapse in road rage comments between prayer. I'm not saying I'm perfect but I've seen real progress in my attitude toward my fellow commuter since I started praying the Rosary every day in the car. Since I commute over 20 miles a day I get my most solid block of prayer time in the car. Try it, you may like it!
2) Put my Nativity scene out on the First Sunday of Advent (as is my family tradition, the Christ child stays hidden in a cupboard until Christmas Day and then he is added to the creche). I leave the Nativity scene up thru Epiphany.
3) I'm still debating about the Christmas tree. Because of the small size of my house, my tree has to go in my porch and I got rid of my fake tree about a month ago. It was very shabby. It made Charlie Brown's tree a thing of beauty. I have not replaced it yet. However, I did buy my annual wreath from the Scouts and that's up already.
4) Read the Magnificat Advent Companion meditation each day. I already have my copy of this supplement to their regular monthly issue. If you don't already subscribe to Magnificat I can't recommend it enough. It has been a tremendous aid to me in helping me deepen my daily prayer life and Scriptural meditation.
5) Attend my weekly Adoration hour as usual
6) Confess, Confess, Confess!!!! I went yesterday to start Advent off with a clean slate. I'm sure I'll be in the Confessional, at least, one more time before Christmas. Don't wait until January, Confession is the best weight loss program there is!
7) Attend the weekly Novena of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I'm only an occasional attendee at the Novena but for Advent I vow to go each week
8) Pray the Novena to the Immaculate Conception. Today is Day One.
9) Attend Holy Mass on December 8th-The Immaculate Conception-a Holy Day of Obligation. You did not forget did you? :-)
10) Do my usual First Friday devotion on December 5th
11) Give something up every Friday during Advent. I know we are supposed to sacrifice on every Friday throughout the year in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice but I admit to you that, outside of days I'm obliged to and First Friday's, I don't. I'm hoping if I start this, like my daily Rosary recitation which grew up out of a Lenten resolution, I will keep it going after Advent.
12) Go to Mass every Saturday morning during Advent. Saturday is usually my only morning to lolligag so I'll be attempting to give laziness up during Advent.
13) Continue my attendance at Bible Study. I'm in one of Jeff Cavins' series at my parish. I really like it! If your parish starts one, JOIN! If you don't have one, ask for it!
14) Continue attending sung Vespers on Sunday afternoon. I can't make it every week, but I'm determined to do so during Advent.
15) Finish reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce I know. It's short but my free time is too! It has a lovely sentiment in it from Adoro It was a gift from her and when I complained that she did not write anything in it for me, she wrote on the front page "J, Here. I did not write this, but I read it! J" Give me a minute will you? *Sniff, Sob*
That's my plan. Much of it is stuff I'm already doing but there are a few new items. Some of you out there are wondering why you should care. You don't have to. It's my blog and I can write what I want, so there! It helps me to stick to a plan if I've committed to it by public vow.