Thursday, December 26, 2013

Advent, Christmas Where did it go..... Advent and Christmas in Pictures...

 Do you know what Advent means?? 
What does the Church celebrate during Advent? Advent (ad-venio in Latin or "to come to") is a time of waiting, expectation, and preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ, the world's savior, on Christmas Day. Advent is the beginning of the Church's liturgical year and  goes for four Sundays before Christmas ending on Christmas Eve. Advent is also known as "little Lent" and it is a time of prayer, penance and fasting in preparation for the coming of Christ. During Advent we are called to prepare for the birth of Christ. There are lots of ways to prepare for Advent. Advent activities and devotions are endless there is so much you can do as a family. Lighting the Advent wreath each Sunday and using a daily Advent calendar for children is one of the more popular ideas. Advent prayers are also a  way to join with the Church in prayer during this special season.

Our Plans...
This year I decided to add a daily reading to my schedule. I was pleased to hear about a book from a friend on her blog. The tile says it all- Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting .
Another book I also have fallen in love with is May I Have This Dance?: An Invitation to Faithful Prayer Throughout the Year . I was at a retreat 4 weekends ago and got a hour to just sit in silence, can I recommend this everyone! I picked up this book and could not put it down.

We started our Advent attending Mass and learning about St Nicholas. Our parish put on a St Nicholas celebration and it was great!!

After Mass we went and picked out our Christmas tree's.  The tree farm was wonderful, we like to wait till the second week of Advent but this year we went early.  We blessed our Advent wreath got out all our Christmas books and started to decorate our home for Christ's birthday.

As we decorate our home and prepare our hearts we learn more about our Savior. We read books and fill our days with activities, we dig deep into the word and attend church a lot.
We open gifts through out Advent and bake many yummy treats.

This year we joined our town in a living windows and cookie walk since we have a store on main street. This is a new to us and we had a blast doing both of them, it was super cold but well worth it! Through out Advent we have fun celebrating all the feasts and of course with that comes loads of treats. 
We have been so busy this year I really have not posted much through out Advent so...
this blog post is going out after Christmas:)
 I thought it would be fun to share a month of Christmas pictures with all of you. I have typed up our book list because I am a list person;), but the rest is in pictures.

I am not sure I took any pictures of my cookies this year:( I will have to see if we have any left and snap a few.

Book and Activity Lists...
This year like last year I wrapped the books we will be reading. I choose silver and pink paper this time, I found it very hard to find purple wrapping paper. Our girls love this and each night a different child gets to unwrap the book. She gets to sit next to me and see the pictures first before the other children. It is always a high point of the day for everyone.
We also will start reading a new book this year to the children, to add to the other 3 we already read. Hannah's Godparents always send her wonderful Christmas gifts and this year she received a  book called 24 Christmas Stories to Welcome Jesus. Each night we read a new story and the pictures are just wonderful!! Did I say that my children love story time. Sitting around as a family and just enjoy the evening together is such great memories for all of us.
But just to make it clear sometimes evenings are a little rough trying to get all 8 children to sit after a sweet treat can be tricky. It would be nice if they all just sat nice and still and listened without even a fuss, but than I would have to wonder if my little ones where okay:) 

Daily books to read each evening ~

This year we decided to add a new tradition it is called Christkind and my kids love it!! I will explain more about this later

Dec 1st   Waiting for Christmas, Santa's Favorite Story
Dec 2nd  The Christmas Cobweb's
Dec 3rd  The Cobweb Christmas The Tradition of  Tinsel
Dec 4th  The Cobweb Curtain 
Dec 5th  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey with CD
Dec 6th  St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas, The Baker's Dozen: A St. Nicholas Tale
* Celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas 
Dec 7th  A Christmas Memory
* Decorate our Christ Candle for Christmas
Dec 8th  Gifts from the Heart, The Little Fir Tree
* We also cut down our Christmas Tree
Dec 9th  The Christmas Candle
* St. Juan Diego
Dec 10th  Shoemaker Martin   
Dec 11th  The Christmas Coat
Dec 12th  Our Lady of Guadalupe book
* Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dec 13th  Hanna's Christmas, Kristen's Surprise, Lucia Morning in Sweden
* Celebrate the Feast of St. Lucy
Dec 14th  A Small Miracle
Dec 15th  The Legend of the Christmas Rose, Merry Christmas Curious George
Dec 16th  An Orange for Frankie
Dec 17th  Silent Night
* O Antiphon starts (O Wisdom)
Dec 18th  The Christmas Promise
* O Antiphon (O Adonai) 
Dec 19th O holy Night
* O Antiphon (O Radix Jesse)
Dec 20th  One Christmas Dawn
* O Antiphon (O Clavis David), (O Key of David)
Dec 21st  Night Tree 
* O Antiphon (O Dayspring, (O Oriens)
Dec 22nd The Christmas Bird
* O Antiphon (O King of the Gentiles), (O Rex Gentium)
Dec 23rd  Father and Son: A Nativity Story
* O Antiphon (O Emmanuel)
Dec 24th  One Winter's Night, The Donkey's Dream, Mortimer's Christmas Manger
Dec 25th  The Nutty Nutcracker Christmas, 

For the 12 days of Christmas we will read a variety of books. I think 
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett is one of our favorites.

I think my pictures will need to be posted in 2 different posts. Sorry about the length this and the next post will in tale.  I have family unable to see us this year and everyone wants pictures so I am filling it up with lots of snap shots.

Here is a look at our Advent and Christmas up till today in pictures...

More to come...

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