Friday, December 2, 2011

First Friday: an Advent Adventure

This morning our Sacred Heart Homeschoolers came together for First Friday. After an early Mass (and an early, cold morning hustling everyone along to make it in time!), we gathered for a quick snack/breakfast before moving onto our activity for the month. Two other moms paired up to lead this month. They had a hard time choosing what to do (after all, this month is so rich with traditions and options!). Finally, they settled on the season of Advent, and I really liked what the kids did. I hope you do too.

First the kids listened to the Bible story of the Annunciation and Visitation; and after talked about what Mary did and how they could imitate her during the Advent season. While the kids colored a cut-out Advent wreath, they came up with ideas on how they could be like our Blessed Mother, using each action of Mary to work on each week of Advent. You could do this at home by finding a printable coloring page like this one or this one, or you could even take more time and make a handprint Advent wreath or a toilet paper tube Advent wreath. Write the kids' intentions for each week on the appropriate candle.
Pray

Mary was close to God, and prayed to Him daily. Obviously, prayer is something that extends to every day and all year, not just the first week of Advent. The kids' mission? To pick another child from the group to pray for during Advent. Skipper and Critter ended up with each other, which they thought was funny.
Help

When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, she went to help her cousin, despite her own physical discomfort due to pregnancy. So, during the second week of Advent, the kids are to focus on how they can help others. Some said they would dry the dishes, another said they would make beds (even the beds of others), and others said they would help pick-up - without being told to!

Wait

Mary had to wait nine months for Jesus to be born. The kids also have to wait for Christmas and to celebrate the birth of Christ. The kids' mission for this was to focus on patience - patience with their siblings, their parents, waiting their turn, etc.

Sacrifice

In saying "yes" to God, Mary gave up any plans or hopes she had for her own life, in order to fulfill God's plan. Her sacrifice - then and later - gave us the hope we now have to be with her and her Son in Heaven one day. Sacrifice is a difficult thing to do, as we all found out when this decision took the longest for the kids to decide on. Skipper in particular was not happy about sacrificing anything, but eventually he decided on giving up a favorite toy for the last week of Advent, and letting his brother and sister play with it instead. (This particular toy is one that is often being threatened to go to Goodwill many a time due to the arguments it causes!)

To wrap up the morning, the kids said a decade of the Rosary in honor of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Then all went home, hopefully with a sense that while we all wish our homes to be well-decorated and lit-up for the season, so too must we "decorate" ourselves within in order to welcome Jesus into our homes.

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