Sunday, December 8, 2013

Our 4 Steps From Advent to Christmas

Here we are - the second Sunday of Advent - and I can honestly say that I've never read more, considered more, or firmed up our family Advent practices more concisely, than I have this year. What a wonderful time! I've been challenged, informed and have shared via the Keep Christ in CHRISTMAS blog roll and more. All of this has culminated in an enhanced plan for this Advent and those to come.

O Come O Come Emanuel!

Week #1 - Since Advent is a season in it's own right, it's only fitting to begin the season with creating or purchasing an Advent Wreath and lighting one purple candle on the first Sunday. In addition, our family employs an Advent 'Waiting Tree' and an 'Advent Time of Waiting' craft idea, created by yours truly last year. We also begin to read the Advent, St. Nicholas, and Christmas storybooks we continue to collect. This year we added two new videos to the one we already had, 'Nicholas, the Boy Who Became Santa'. 

Week #2 - We're gaining a bit of ground in our anticipatory season now. The Immaculate Conception Novena has come to a close and the second purple candle has been lit. This weekend we deck the halls with garlands and put out a few more winter type decorations - snowflakes, holly pillows and burgundy poinsettia bows. We received an added, act-of-God gift as well this year - our first snowfall of the season - a definite rarity in W Kentucky!

Week #3 - Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday finds us lighting the pink candle on our Advent Wreath. This day lightens up the somewhat penitential season of Advent with the promise of the quickly approaching Birth. Our practice for this 3rd Sunday of Advent is to add lighting to the decorative scheme. The tree is brought in and lights are added - no decorations yet, the time hasn't yet come.

Week #4 - Ah, the fourth candle is lit today - reminding us that Christmas is nigh. There won't be much waiting (or preparation) now! This weekend finds us decorating the tree, putting up the Nativity scene, and putting the final touches on all of our decorating. Baby Jesus waits to placed on Christmas Eve, when our house will be filled with extended family and friends. One lucky child will have the honor of placing Him in the manger after the prayers, readings, and songs have ended. After the evening's celebration and festivities, we'll attend Midnight Mass, as a grand culmination of the long wait and flurry of preparation. Stay tuned to learn about our Christmas Eve 'liturgy' with family and friends...

Our Advent 'Waiting Tree' and calendar of little books.

Some things we do throughout Advent:

  • Find ways to give to those less fortunate by participating in charitable endeavors, such as Cross Catholic Outreach's the ART of Giving.
  • Prepare for His coming by attending a Penance Service and going to confession regularly.
  • Talk about the true meaning of Advent and Christmas within our family and with others. Read books and watch movies that exemplify the reality of Christ's saving gift to us.
  • Share our faith with others through social media.
  • Condition our hearts toward true love, not just of those we already love, but those who might be deemed 'unlovable' by society.
  • Light the appropriate number of candles on the Advent Wreath whenever we pray or eat.
  • Continue to read the booklets in our Story of Christmas Advent Calendar as a journey to gradually reach the birth of Jesus.
  • Pray for the people whose names we draw out of the basket for the A Time of Waiting devotion.
  • Of course, we also bake, cook, write notes and mail Christmas cards, and attend Christmas plays - just like all of you do!
I hope you've enjoyed this visit with our family and our Advent traditions. What are some of your?