Here is what are plans are for Advent 2011, it looks like a lot but it blends in to our daily life perfect. We celebrate feast days, do many crafts open many gifts, make and send many gifts, bake and cook a tonJ, pray a lot and learn a lot as a family. We have done Advent teas, work with the church, and we read many great books. Here is what it looks like in our home during Advent, season of life may change things from time to time but these are traditions we have grown to love.
**This year I added a little something for my husband and me to do alone. I found this Advent Christmas Candle and thought it would be nice to place this in are bedroom. Each night before bed we will light it and read part of the Nativity story, or anything out of the Bible that we may need to hear together as a couple. The Father at Mass today asked us to spend quite time this Advent with God even if it is only 10 min GIVE IT TO HIM! He reminded us how many people slept outside Black Friday waiting for the great deals. How you will most likely never find a Christian waiting outside the church doors on Sunday trying to get the best seat in church. This is all so true, people get priorities all mixed up and forget what really is most important. So even though I spend time each morning with my Holy Bible reading Gods word, I never take the time to do this with my husband. So Larry will be reading each evening for us because I love his voice, and I love to hear him speak the word of God to me.
**We also added a beautiful new wooden set of Jesse Tree ornaments, I bought these as an Advent gift for our family. We bought them from a Esty store called Jesse Tree Treasures and she did a wonderful job. Thank you Jessica for the great idea.
Starting Nov 27th we will welcome the first week of Advent attending Mass and setting up are home. We will put our Nativity’s up, Yes we have more than one Nativity in our homeJ we also will hang our Jesse Tree up, and place our Advent wreath in our family dining room.
The first week of Advent we will also focus on Germany and Poland, learning about their traditions during Advent and Christmas. We may try new foods and will read many good books. The second week we will be focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe, The third week we will jump into learning about Mexico and the British Isles and the last week of Advent we will finish by focusing on the Holy Land.
Nov 30th we will learn about Saint Andrew, Apostle. I need to make a note here that we teach our children not to pray to anyone other than Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven. We love the Saints in heaven and love the Godly examples they left us here on earth. In our family my husband is the head of his castle and his wishes are firm, no praying to the mother of Christ and please no praying to the Catholic Saints.
Dinner today will be fish of some kind with lentils and gluten free bread, and maybe a dessert.
December 3rd Saint Francis Xavier, Priest, he had an amazing zeal for spreading the Gospel.
Dinner today will be a Xavier Soup, with flaky bread.
Dec 6th Feast of St. NicholasWe really take the day off for this; our children will wake up to slippers with Gold coins in them, along with each little girl receiving some type of Christmas book, and a small toy or movie.
We read and do many things today, in our family we look forward to this day very much.All day we will have special treats and serve a nice dinner
Dec 7th The feast of St. Ambrose, since he is the saint of candle makers we will normally make candles of some kind and make honey bee cookies for a snack.
Dec 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today we explain to our children that we are remembering the wonderful gift the Lord gave us. Mary is now with child and the day is coming soon the savior of the world will be born. The King of Kings! We thank Mary for choosing such a task, a job sent to her from our Father. A message sent to Mary from a Heavenly Angel. Praise the Lord for this day!
We will be eating food that is white, normally Alfredo and Cauliflower salad. For dessert will be Hot- Water Chocolate cake with gingerbread spices. We will also make our gingerbread house today. In the Catholic Bible in the book of Sirach it talks about how Mary smelled of spices. This is way we thought it would be a good idea to work with the gingerbread spices today.
Dec 13th Feast of St. Lucy each year we make a Saint Lucia’s Bread for breakfast. Here is what we did last year on the feast of St. Lucy.
Dec 14th Today we will be at a play this year with our HS group to see a Christmas Carol. We also will be making a stop at my husband’s work because St. Nick will be there with presents for all the Kids.
Dec 16th -24th we will start a Christmas Novena, this is a devotion to prepare our hearts. The Novena focuses intensely on our expectation of the Coming King. We will be leaving out the Hail Mary, and other prayers that may take our thoughts away from scripture alone. My husband reads through all of it and puts our family’s thoughts and prayers into it. To us it makes it more personal when you pray from your heart not from a typed up prayer.
Dec 17th is the start of the “O” Antiphons using seven different names from Salvation History in the Old Testament. We start to impatiently beg God to come and save his people. The girls by this point have become increasingly impatient for Christmas, so we may say the “O” Antiphons at dinner each night to help them keep focus on what the meaning truly is the birth of our savior.
I give a new gift each night to go along with each prayer, an old Monastic custom was to provide treats, representing each of the “O Antiphons” leading up till Christmas. It makes it so much fun for the girls, and it does increase their excitement about the birth of Christ getting closer. I am not sure what I will be buying this year yet but the ideas are endless. You can see what we did last Year, I am sure we will come up with something great.
Dec 17th O Wisdom we will be giving a book of Wisdom to our girls tonight
Dec 18th O Lord and Ruler We will make our Gingerbread houses today, and have a pumpkin Trifle for dessert.
Dec 19th O root of Jesse I will buy our family Poinsettia today
Dec 20th O Key of David I will be making a Key Lime Pie
Dec 21st O Rising Dawn
Dec 22nd O King of the Gentiles
Dec 23rd O Emmanuel
Dec 24th we will turn our lights on in the home now. We wait to light the tree till Christmas Eve, well if the little ones can wait for it and mom and dadJ
Christmas Eve we will attend Mass and watch Nativity Story as a family.
Christmas Day we will go to Church and celabrate. We will be having a cake and party for our saviour. We do not open gifts in our home till Epiphany January 6th, but they will get to open the stockings from mom and dad. We will not be opening gifts on this day so we can focus on the true meaning of Christmas. The Christmas season starts today and does not end today like most of Americans believe. Most will start taking down Christmas things, we will now celebrate for the next 12 days of Christmas opening gifts from family and friends each day till January 6th. So Christmas is ONE day, but the Christmas season is much longer.
So this is a little look at what we will be doing this year in our home. I didn’t add every detail because that would take much to long for me to type out. From Christmas Lap bookmaking to Card making, gift exchanges, and lots of Baking I’m sure I could add much more to our list.
Each morning I thank God for a new day to worship him. I thank him every day for his Son, and I encourage you to place your heart in the reason for Advent, prepare your hearts for the birth of Christ. Yes I know he is alive in heaven and not a baby anymore, but we take this time to remember. I like to place myself back in time as if I were with the Holy family, as if I knew what was going to happen. What would I do during the days leading up to the birth of my savior. I put my heart and mind in that place during Advent and then Christmas, and I feel so much closer to Christ during this time because of these actions.
What will you and your family be doing this Advent?