Dust off the cameras and projectors, pull out the forgotten chairs, and unpack several dozen more sleeves of wafers: Christmas is almost here! With Christmas comes the perhaps temporary, reverse diaspora of many of God’s people.

Time to shake off the dust to let the Light shine through ourselves. We’ve been preparing for this, friends!

Sometimes Advent feels more like a rat race through increased traffic and higher credit card bills than a time of preparation for the coming of our Savior. I have filled too many of my adulthood Advents with inconsequential priorities that stomp out the importance of the season until Christmas Eve arrives.

Even on Christmas Eve I have found myself frustrated that my family must be dressed and in the car almost two hours before Mass begins in order to secure a seat. These “fair weather” attendees make me feel crowded, I’m ashamed to say I have thought.

This is the opposite attitude I should have when celebrating the birth of the Christ who came to save all of us.

This year, in an effort to pump up my prayer life, I will welcome the claustrophobia as the opportunity it is! There I will be, facing a packed room of new people to speak to! Consider taking this twice-a-year chance to meet these new people. They might consider coming to Mass more often if they found a sense of community at church and it’s our job to introduce them to it.

Imagine what it must be like to walk into church for the first time in nine months, picking a seat surrounded by silence on a day signified by joy. It would be hard to muster the courage to reach out at your premiere Mass — and sometimes the second opportunity doesn’t come. Let’s talk to them now.

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