By Jessica Easthope
The four candles on an Advent wreath represent the 4 weeks of Advent, but each candle also has a meaning; hope, peace, joy and love.
“Just as we hope for the coming of Christ and Christmas but we all, mankind, are hoping for a time when the vaccine is here and this pandemic is behind us,” said Father Christopher Heanue, who serves as administrator at Holy Child Jesus and St. Benedict Joseph Labre Church in Richmond Hill.
This Advent, Fr. Heanue is partnering with DeSales Media Group, the communication and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn that operates Net TV, to create a digital Advent calendar as part of DeSales’ “Rediscover Christmas” campaign.
“I think it was sort of a natural transition to digitalize the traditional advent calendar, it can reach a lot more people,” Father Heanue said.
The calendar features videos from Father Heanue with a new message for the week’s theme every Sunday, there are also prayers, quotes to reflect on and actions to take – some even let you treat yourself.
“Some of them they are create Christmas ornaments with your family, and some are a little deeper like reflect on five things you are grateful for this year. So I think the Advent Calendar created a good balance of treating yourself, but also remembering what it means to be Catholic this season,” said Caitlin Sakdalan, the Social Media Community Manager at DeSales Media.
Caitlin helped get the digital Advent calendar rolled out —it has nearly 600 daily viewers, and has reached more than 60,000 people on social media.
“This initiative is meant to be a purposeful way for us to reconnect and truly rediscover Christ in Christmas and even though 2020 has been a curveball of a year, Jesus can still be that light for us,” Caitlin said.
Unlike an Advent calendar you can buy at a store, there are no chocolates or sweet treats, but Caitlin says this calendar offers something much more satisfying.
“This one it’s really meant to fill your soul and feed you internally in a different way and fill you with the hope of Christ,” she said.
While this season is missing some tradition, it gives us a chance to bring Jesus back into focus and rediscover Christmas.