This month, we asked our Interns to chime in on how they celebrate the season of Advent. I know you’ll be inspired by their responses! Lisa
How do you find time as a busy student to pause and ponder the season of Advent? What unique Advent traditions are celebrated in your home?
I never really had any Advent traditions at home, so it’s only been recently that I’ve sought out different ways to prepare my heart and mind for Christ. It is especially difficult as a student because it seems like I have to force myself to pause and take a step back amidst the stress and deadlines of exams. One way I’ve found helpful lately is stopping by my parish’s Adoration chapel on my way home from school. That way, I can talk to Jesus about my day thus far and then take some quiet time to just be with Him and receive His love. I also love to read a reflection on the Advent season before I start my day because there is so much to be hopeful for, despite the worries I may have.
After three years of bemoaning how difficult it was to really celebrate Advent at college, a few friends and I decided to remedy the situation. Each evening, we gather in my room to recollect ourselves in this season of anticipation. We open a door on the Advent calendar, read St. Alphonsus Ligouri’s meditation for the day, and finish by praying together the Christmas novena. At home, the main Nativity scenes go up around the First Sunday, minus the Christ Child and the angels who will appear on Christmas Eve. The figures of Mary and Joseph travel with the donkey throughout the various rooms of the house, slowly getting closer to their final destination. No Christmas lights are turned on until after midnight Mass; before then, only a single white candle in each of the windows is lit to welcome and guide the Christ Child into our home.
As a homeschooled high school student, I find my time to ponder this season of waiting during my family’s daily prayer times in which we pray the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena along with an Advent reflection on Love. We have several different traditions, one of them being an Advent Countdown with numbered bags that we open each day which hold a small prize for each of my siblings to share as well as a prayer card or reflection for that day. Advent has always been a special, quiet time for us to wait and wonder and anticipate the coming of Christ.
The seasons of Advent and Christmas are certainly busy ones in our family of ten. Between wrapping up classes for the semester, Christmas shopping, and celebrating 2 family birthdays, it’s easy for Advent to quickly slip by. As a morning person, I find taking time to reflect on a scripture reading or saint quote as soon as I get up keeps me focused on the Advent Season. Prioritizing this time in the mornings help keep my thoughts on Advent throughout my busy day. My family’s traditions also offer great opportunities to pause and ponder the season—one tradition is near the beginning of Advent, my siblings and I secretly choose each other’s names, “Advent buddies”, and every day until Christmas we pray for them, do good deeds, and finally, give them a gift on Christmas day.
We wish all of our interns a blessed Advent season. You are in our prayers!