I played defensive back on my high school football team. We had a tough coach, but he was an effective teacher. He drove home one principle for us every practice: Keep It Simple Stupid or, simply, “K.I.S.S. it!” I never appreciated being called “stupid” but I see some merit to this principle as all of us prepare for Advent.

Advent -- the 4 weeks prior to Christmas -- is meant to be a season of wating and watching, listening and looking. Simplicity is key. We are preparing our heads and hearts for the celebration of the coming of the Messiah in his incaration (the Latin word for arrival/ coming is adventus). In addition, we look forward to his final advent as judge at the end of time. The characteristic note of Advent is expectation. Advent, as a season in the Christian Calendar, is intended to help us prepare by simplifying and focusing ourselves on Christ’s coming through practices of prayer, meditation, fasting, and restraint.

Unfortunately, the present-day commercialization of Christmas increasingly encourages us to consume -- earlier every year it seems -- in the weeks leading up to our Christmas celebration. I often feel harried to shop, eat, and party. perhaps you do, too. It can be so overwhelming trying to keep up with “te season of giving” that we have little space for watching and waiting.

In light of this, I encourage you this November to do now the tasks necessary to prepare for the celebration of Christmas (the “Twelve Days of Christmas” are actually December 25 - January 6) so that you can keep it simple in Advent in December. I recognize this is not easy. To coin a phrase for Advent itself though, let’s “Keep It Simple Saints.” As best you can, resolve to K.I.S.S. it in Advent; you will be glad you did.

 Fr. Dean