Friday, January 1, 2010

Advent


A Root shall come forth from the stock of Jesse
And a Flower shall rise out of his root!
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him —
the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, 
the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, 
the spirit of knowledge and of godliness.
The people that walked in darkness 
shall see a great light,
For a Child is born to us 
and a Son is given to us.
To Him all power shall be given. 
His Name shall be: Wonderful One, 
Strong God, Eternal One, Prince of Peace. 
He shall sit on the throne of David, 
And He will found a new Covenant 
which will last for ever and ever.

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Advent is a rich, beautiful time in the Church's liturgical year. It is the start of a new year, and whether you have children or not, it is the perfect time for spiritual growth as we await the baby Jesus and look forward to the second coming of Christ.

As a child, my family celebrated Christmas in a secular way. We said the occasional prayer at the big family meal, but mostly it was about Santa and reindeer and presents. It was all fun and wonderful and somewhere in there I knew Christmas day was about the birth of Jesus.

Now, as a Catholic, and a mother with young children, I come to love this time more and more, especially as I strive to make it more about Jesus and less about what the stores tell me Christmas is about.

I love the time of waiting. Advent is NOT Christmas. We wait, we yearn, we hope, we prepare. Our home starts off bare, spending that first week of Advent decluttering and cleaning. We set out an empty Natvitiy scene. Our Advent wreath is one of few decorations. The children look forward to an Advent-themed book each day. As the weeks of Advent progress, so do our preparations and decorations so that by Christmas our home is ready to celebrate for the full season of Christmas.

Each home is different and each year is different. Pare down and strip away the season. Do not add more to what is going on. Quiet yourself. For inspiration from our past Advent preparations, see the following links:
Our Advent plans are pretty well in place, but occasionally I like to shake things up. Plus, I love to collect ideas so feel free to follow me on my Advent Pinterest board.

More on Advent and resource links from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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