The Hidden Treasures of Christmas:
A Retreat Guide for Advent
Advent and Christmas time are always busy, busy, busy. They come and go so quickly, and when the New Year arrives, we always feel like we should have lived them better; we should have given more time and effort to the simple things, the spiritual things, the real meaning of these important liturgical seasons. This Advent Retreat Guide, The Hidden Treasures of Christmas, won’t solve that problem completely, but it will surely help.
The hidden treasures of the Christmas season are the rich liturgical celebrations that happen during the weeks following Christmas itself. Those twelve days are packed with ancient, inspiring liturgical memorials, but because of the busyness and fullness of the season, we almost never allow ourselves to enjoy them.
So why not use Advent as a time to look ahead, liturgically speaking, to savor some of those liturgical feasts that the Holy Spirit has placed, so to speak, under the Christmas tree? Each of them gives us a fresh and uplifting take on the great mystery of salvation linked to Christ’s birth. Reflecting on them before Christmas arrives will help us enter into the spiritual atmosphere of Advent.
• In the first meditation, we will contemplate the dramatic lives of two saints whose feast days are celebrated during the Christmas season: St. Stephen and St. Thomas Becket.
• In the second meditation, we will contemplate the two feasts that turn our minds to the perennial Christmas value of family life: the Holy Innocents, and the Holy Family.
• And in the conference, we will turn our attention to the Christian vision of how to organize human society for peace and prosperity—a vision linked to the Catholic way of celebrating New Year’s Day, which the Church recognizes as the World Day of Peace, as well as the liturgical memorial of Mary, the Mother of God.
Let’s begin by opening our souls to God, and humbly asking him, in the quiet of our hearts, for the grace to live this Advent better than ever, by savoring the hidden treasures of Christmas.