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29 Dec 2023

Assumption Young Adult Advent Retreat Reflection

"I am grateful to have been part of the Advent Retreat on Sunday 3rd December and we primarily focused on what Advent means to us... during the period of Advent, I decided to use the calendar we filled in to engage in faith-based events/serving others for most of the days"

One of our activities was to fill in the Advent Calendar with examples of faith-based events/serving others that we could then set out to achieve on each day of advent or whatever we decided on. The Calendar was in the shape of a cut-out on A4 paper. There were also inspirational quotes from the Bible which could be stuck on appropriately.

During the period of Advent, I decided to use the calendar we filled in to engage in faith-based events/serving others for most of the days. Since we were already into the 3rd day of Advent, I listed the following 2 faith-based activities for 1st & 2nd December respectively: Friday 1st December - Carmelite Young Adults Group in evening with advent discussion and social time afterwards. Saturday 2nd December – Attended a Pax Christi Service and donated to the Alternative Xmas market out of kindness/generosity.

Subsequently, I noted down several more that I would carry out in the forthcoming days. On the day of the retreat itself I was in a group with a lot of new people, so I sat next to someone I normally don’t and learnt something new about them, my daily act of kindness on 3rd December.

On Monday 4th December, I called a relative that I had not spoken to in a while, whilst the following day, I brought tinned food to a local foodbank within the vicinity.

I was due to start my new job on 6th December, so I carefully planned the next 2 weeks to try and make time for generosity in Advent. On Wednesday 6th, I embraced in some time for walking at a slower pace and noticing things around me, in particular trees and the natural world.

On Friday 8th, I smiled extra throughout the day (I was at my Xmas lunch with ex-colleagues)! The following day, I went to visit my sister and gifted her a jigsaw puzzle that I value, which was well received.

On the 10th, I attended Sunday mass and afterwards, with my involvement in the tea & coffee stall, I gave out three compliments to parishioners/visitors, making them feel greatly appreciated.

On Monday 11th, I let my manager know that I appreciated the new job in gratitude for the opportunity and on the next day, I assisted the manager with the daily tasks in a helpful/caring manner. I believe everything has happened in good time!

On the evening of Wednesday 13th, I commuted straight from work to Embankment tube station to visit the Nativity Scene in Trafalgar Square where there was a sense of peace even throughout the noise of traffic and masses of people. I was quite busy the next 2 days, so did not record anything in particular on my Advent Calendar. I thought of making and decorating a birthday cake for Jesus but not right now; perhaps this is a task for next year!

On Saturday 16th, I decided to donate a sleeping blanket to charity which I found in the closet – I’m sure this will be very useful for someone who is in desperate need.

On Sunday 17th, I attended the carol service at my parish in Pimlico and then joined in with refreshments downstairs.

For the final week of Advent, I served others in the following ways: Tuesday 19th – I was extra patient with someone new, as they were taking me through a work-based task; Wednesday 20th – I used my notebook to journal 30 things that I was grateful for; Thursday 21st – I wrote down 5 joyful messages and pinned them to bus stops dotted around Kew, near to my work office (literally using Blu Tack); Friday 22nd – I wrote a thank you letter to a previous colleague who I believe has influenced me positively (this I handed to another colleague to pass on); the following day, I was relatively tied up getting ready to return home. On the final day of Advent (Christmas Eve), I engaged in 2 faith-based activities – both attending Midnight Mass at the local church and switching off the phone for the whole day.


Overall, I believe that during this time of waiting for the Lord’s coming, I have embraced the opportunities to the full and given myself to others in numerous ways. Specifically, I hope that the messages I left on the bus stops have been meaningful to people who have read them and that anything I have donated has had a positive impact on the lives of others.

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