But, I had a noble purpose in mind. When my older children were small, we spent a lot of time in Advent truly preparing for the coming of Christmas. Time to learn about Jesus, in the Incarnation, Salvation History, the whole deal. But I took this for granted, and my younger children are asking questions revealing a serious hole in their religious education. In a brutally honest bout of self-reflection I realized that the business of December somehow always overwhelmed my good intentions and these children have had little time participating in the beautiful Advent traditions that teach us and remind us of the tremendous love God showed us by coming to live among us.
Christmas is coming! Advent has begun. We are going to bathe in beautiful and faithful Advent traditions and sing O Come O Come Emmanuel until we can’t take it anymore. If you’re with me or even if you just want to try to add one more Advent tradition to your home, it’s not too late. Start today! I’ve got ideas and links galore to share with you:
Advent Wreath – The classic Advent daily activity is best practiced at dinner time; most parishes offer free materials with daily readings and reflections. Catholic gift and book stores carry wreaths and candles or they can be ordered online. Learn about the meaning of the Advent wreath.
Advent Chain – This is fun way to countdown to Christmas that also helps us walk through God’s preparation of the world leading up to Christ’s Birth. Download this free Advent chain printable.
Jesse Tree – We love the Jesse tree tradition, but you do have to make some time for it each day and spend time making some simple homemade ornaments. Keep in mind that this is similar to a Christmas Tree; there are different versions and you can just do as many or few of the ornaments each season. The important thing is to relive the stories of the Old Testament that shows us Christ’s human lineage and God’s plan for the Salvation of the world. Try these instructions for a simple Jesse Tree.
Advent Calendar – We all love them. They can be simple, or include chocolates and toys, or reusable. If you didn’t get one this year, make your own! Build this matchbox Advent calendar and nativity scene.
A Bed for Jesus – Your children can spiritually prepare for Christmas by adding a piece of hay to a manger for every kindness they perform and sacrifice they make. Truly prepare a place for Jesus.
Santa Lucia – A feast day on December 13 that connects to the celebration of Christmas and you don’t have to be from Italy or Scandanavia to celebrate. Learn about traditional ways to celebrate the feast of Saint Lucia.
Playing Santa – One of the most fun and important Christmas activities is choosing a name from a giving tree or stumbling upon a family in need on a Facebook support group and sending gifts, food, or financial aid. Make sure the kids participate in your giving efforts this Christmas. If you can’t find an opportunity near you, check with your local Catholic Charities.
Copyright 2017 Kate Daneluk