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Liguori Author Brother Dan Korn Teaches Us How to Celebrate the Joy of Advent

Liguori Publication

Advent is filled with shopping lists, catchy songs and holiday parties. We often forget to appreciate the joyous season. But Liguori author Redemptorist Brother Dan Korn, CSsR, reminds us to take time to appreciate the joy that the coming of Christ brings.

Brother Dan, author of Embracing the Icon of Love and a member of Liguorian magazine’s planning committee, explains that, since the Church year begins with Advent, it functions as a time to time to do a spiritual cleanse.

“I look at Advent is a time for me to wring out all of the negativity of life,” said Brother Dan. “We have to take our personal assessment and ask ‘What is the most negative thing in my life right now, and how can I change it?’”

According to Brother Dan, we can use the joy that comes with the secular holiday season to enhance our experience during Advent, as long as we give it “intention and meaning.”

And there are many Advent traditions that exist to help Catholics do that. Many Catholics set up the Nativity scene and light candles on the Advent wreath, but there are variations of these customs and others that give new life to them.

“One of the memories I have of when I was little was when we put the manger in the Nativity scene and nothing else. Throughout Advent, we were taught to do acts of kindness, and for every act of kindness we did, we could put that amount of straw in the manger,” said Brother Dan.

For example, if you do not have the traditional Advent candles and wreath, Brother Dan suggests that you can use the small candles you find at the store and surround them with branches from an evergreen tree.

When setting up the Nativity scene, some people place a candle and some evergreen tree branches around Joseph and the donkey. This symbolizes the journey when Joseph led Mary to Bethlehem on the donkey.

Even in our busy lives, we can give intention to Advent by waiting to light the tree until Christmas Day.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate this Advent season, enjoy the celebrations, but remember the real meaning of the season: Jesus Christ.

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