For the week ahead...
This Saturday we will gather all our necessary Advent items - pieces to form the Advent wreath, Advent calendars and countdowns, the Jesse tree and its ornaments. The weather is supposed to be half-way decent so that will be nice as we gather and cut fresh greenery for our Advent wreath. The kids will also make their annual paper chain with daddy to hang on their bedroom door.
My focus for the week is emptying our and purging the house. This is the week I focus on baring our house, almost to the point of it feeling bare. That is my goal. Whether I achieve the same level of bareness as last year, well, that may not happen. However, I do like this week for that. While everyone around me puts up their Christmas decorations, I am not even thinking of them and actually trying to de-decorate my house. Of course, everyone I know has already put up decorations since Advent is starting a bit late this year.
Each day the kids and I will gather around the Jesse Tree for our morning prayers and devotion - a Bible story, an ornament, and a new prayer for the Advent wreath:
All nations, everybody, is waiting for you, Indians and Eskimos are waiting for you. People in New York are waiting for you. People in Beijing are waiting for you. Jesus, come to us.
Sometime during the week the kids and will make a fun background to hang our stockings on. We are without a mantle this year so I plan on hanging them up the stairs using little hooks. I thought it would be festive to have a background for the hooks to go on, even a simple paper backing.
I would also like to make our outdoor wreath to hang between our door and front window. I just love fresh wreaths!
Usually throughout Advent we have no sweets except for our Sweet Sunday, but I did want to do a test batch of these Starlight Cookies with my adaptations. If not, we may just test batch the first time we do them on Christmas Eve!
For me... Besides purging the house, I turn inward, to focus on my spiritual life. I will continue the Christmas Novena and I will begin this Advent Bible study, which actually started on November 26th. I tried to start it, but you know, it was not Advent yet and it did not feel right! I altered their plans to include Sundays and right on in to Christmas. I am only using it for the Bible study but there are some nice additional (optional) family activities in it.
Christmas Around the World... The kids and I are taking a break - thankfully - from Ancient History (really, it is just not my cup of tea compared to other ages past) and learning about different Christmas traditions around the world. This week we are visiting Germany and Israel.
First Sunday of Advent... Blessing of the Advent wreath and first prayers. And hopefully a little Christmas Tapestry at my church in the evening.
Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th... read some St. Nick books, watch a fun video, have a little Santa's cocoa and a St. Nick pizza for dinner, St. Nick coins in the morning and assign secret missions.
Feast of St. Ambrose on December 7th... Read The Christmas Candle and decorate our Christ candle to be used for the Christmas season. Attend the vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th... Create our Mary candle (cover our Christ candle with a white cloth and tied with a blue ribbon, to be unveiled come Christmas). Hopefully have a special meal - all-white? Or perhaps a blueberry-centered breakfast?
Whatever your plans, God bless, and remember the reason for the season!
(By the way, I had a little sidekick that kept me at this post way longer than I intended to. My cat, Sirius, first fell off a little bench and kept me laughing. Then he very nicely jumped up and laid beside me with his head on my number pad on the keyboard and promptly fell asleep while punching keys at the same time. ;))