Advent is a great time to refocus attention on the spiritual life and growing in the Christian faith. As a runner, I can see a similarity between running and the spiritual life. When I am running and preparing for a race, I get very focused and am methodical in my training plan. I have a goal and I work toward that goal with intensity. However, when there is no race on the schedule, my training can become lax and unfocused.
That is kind of how I am seeing this advent as well, with the Christmas season being the finish line and advent the training season. It seems to me that like being well prepared for a race enables me to enjoy the race itself and reap the benefits of my training with the goal of the race being met by a new personal best time and finishing strong. In the same way, being well prepared for the Christmas season will allow me to experience more fully the joy of the season.
This Advent I plan, God Willing, to focus and prepare with intensity for the Christmas season and the coming of our Lord. As for the particular training program I will be using, I have decided on the program that has produced many champions (saints) over the last 2,000 years. I will be using the tried and true form of Christian training, the prayer, fasting, and alms-giving plan.
Is this a big commitment? You bet because I know that I will have to focus intently on my training and make sacrifices in other areas of my life, but I know it will be worth it when I am running strong into Christmas morning and throughout the Christmas season.
Have a blessed and fruitful advent!