Advent is the traditional four weeks of preparation before Christmas and the Christmas season. It is a time of quiet prayer, anticipation, and joy. Most people associate this season and the Christmas season with family and loved ones. But what if you’re single? Does the season lose meaning for you?
Of course not! Advent is still a season of preparation, a season which can feel all too familiar as a single Catholic. It’s still important for you to prepare your heart for the birth of Christ, and for a potential match! You have a unique ability as a single to prepare and anticipate.
Here are a few ways you can do just that this holiday season, without having a significant other of your own.
1. Start your own traditions
You can still light the Advent wreath every night and pray by yourself. Or you could get yourself some sort of Advent calendar. Maybe during the Advent season you want to work your way through one of the Gospels (I suggest either Matthew’s or Luke’s).
When you’re single, you get to decide how you want to prepare your heart for the birth of the Christ Child. You can also try different things out to see what sticks without having to take anyone else into consideration. Take advantage of this! Learn how to be a person “after God’s own heart” like King David was. There’s no better preparation for the Savior than that!
2. Meditate on the life of the Holy Family
Regardless of the season God invites you to, family life is central to all vocations and ministries. It’s also essential for understanding why God chose to come to us through and into a family. Family life is the nucleus of earthly life! So it does us good to meditate on the most holy family to ever live.
As we prepare to welcome the Christ Child into an earthly family and open our hearts to him, it’s good to reflect on his family life and the individual members who made up his family. Here is a good starting point!
3. Reflect on married life in light of the Gospel
Marriage is a natural institution, but also a sacramental one. It is the building block of society but it also raises us up and prepares us for the eternal.
In a pastoral letter, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “Marriage is not merely a private institution, however. It is the foundation for the family, where children learn the values and virtues that will make good Christians as well as good citizens. The importance of marriage for children and for the upbringing of the next generation highlights the importance of marriage for all society.”
So what does this have to do with Advent as a single person? God chose to come to us through a family, lifting the vocation of the family up from solely a natural institution to a divine one, as well. He shows us how to love like him through participation in a family, so it is important to understand what marriage truly means as we prepare to welcome Christ.
If you’re discerning marriage, it’s especially important to understand the purpose of marriage. This will help you not only build a solid foundation in the relationship but it will also help you discern if married life is actually your calling.
4. Decorate your home
The place we prepare for Christ isn’t just some spiritual, metaphorical place in our hearts, it should also be our physical dwelling. Decorating also shows a premeditation on what is to come, which is exactly what Advent is all about! So put up a little tree and nativity, string some lights, do whatever you like to make your home a festive dwelling place for you and the Lord.
As a single person, this can be fun because you can decorate exactly to your tastes and invite others into this aspect of yourself. Give them a glimpse of who you are, how you worship, and what makes you happy. In return, you’ll receive this anytime you step foot into someone else’s home, too!
5. Volunteer your time
Holidays, especially the winter holidays, are some of the toughest on the vulnerable populations in our society. From homelessness to lack of food or money, this bright season can leave some feeling in the dark.
As a single Catholic, you have a unique ability to volunteer and meet the needs of so many in your community. Being able to volunteer your time freely without many obligations demanding your time opens you up to take less popular shifts at a soup kitchen. Maybe this also allows you to head up a winter coat drive at your parish. Perhaps you could visit the homeless of your area and bring the festivities to them. Or maybe you have a little more disposable income that you don’t have to spend on gifts for family and friends that you could spend buying toys for underprivileged kids or meals for poor families.
This is a chance to use your time and talents without constraint to serve the least of the kingdom of God. What an incredible opportunity! Also, this centering on service will prepare you for a life of service to your own family one day, when you will have to provide for all the needs of others put into your care.
6. Go on some Advent dates!
Not only is the Advent season a great time to go on dates because there are lots of festivities and activities to participate in, but the whole season is about preparing our hearts. What better way to prepare our hearts for Love than by loving someone new?
Dating, especially Catholic dating, opens us to a whole new universe, another person. This is what we do in Advent as we prepare for Christ to enter our world and our hearts. Dating and the birth of Christ go hand-in-hand!
You don’t have to jump into anything heavy for this to be the case. Keeping things simple and light is a great way to get to know people and to discern who might be a good fit for you. So get out those keyboards and compose a message to a match!
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