Eileen Burrell

Slow Down, Simplify, Sanctify

As hot chocolate, pine trees and sale ads start to clutter the minds of many this Advent season, we as Catholics are reminded the reason for the season. If we’re to keep Christ in Christmas, we have got to remember to slow down, simplify, and sanctify (a message my pastor reiterates year round).

Slow Down

It’s easy to jump right into our to-do lists this time of year. We have Christmas trees and houses to decorate, cards to send out, presents to buy, presents to wrap, and of course, the must have ministry Christmas party (usually containing lots of food and lots of ugly sweaters).

In the midst of all that, we have got to take time to slow down. Take time to actually enjoy the penance services, the special Masses, and making the effort to dive deeply into the Word as we anticipate not just this beautiful day we celebrate the birth of our Lord, but His second coming. Only you know your speed… so whatever it is, take it down a notch this Advent season.


Find ways to do less this year. Maybe you want to make every Christmas gift and dessert by hand. It’s great to do this, but if it means cookie battered hands in the kitchen are keeping you from sharing in the presence of loved ones in the other room, it might not hurt to purchase a couple of those desserts already made.

Remember, the best present is your presence. Keep that in mind as you plan your gatherings for family and friends.


Let this season draw you closer to sainthood, not distract you from it. Remember there are many people who are hurting this time of year more than any other time of year. It can be as simple as remembering those who have lost loved ones this year by giving them extra attention, sending them a card, making a phone call, etc. Or perhaps you family can get together and make blessing bags you can pass out to the homeless who are out in the cold and likely without family (try putting gloves and socks in a bag to pass out). In order to sanctify this season, we must be selfless… that starts with slowing down and simplifying.

May God go before you and help you to slow down, simplify and sanctify! Happy Advent!

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Eileen Burrell

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