Advent is upon us. So what does that mean for us as Catholics? Advent is a Latin word that means “coming.” It is a time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus. Advent officially begins four Sundays before Christmas.
For most of us, the season of Advent is one of the busiest times of the year. With the buying of Christmas presents, decorating, baking cookies, going to parties, and all of the other things that come with the season, our lives become hectic, causing us to lose the focus of the season – preparing ourselves for Jesus’ coming.
In an effort to keep the focus on Advent, here are a few suggestions for things families can do:
Keep an Advent wreath in your house. This can be as simple as three purple candles and one pink candle surrounded by greenery brought in from outside. Light the candles whenever is a good time for your family (meals, before leaving for school/work, end of the day before bed).
Perform an act of giving. This can be a simple act of kindness for neighbors or volunteering for a local charity.
Devote time each day for prayer. Traditional prayers, scripture readings, prayers from the heart, or simply quiet time set aside each day help create a closer relationship to Jesus.
Create your own Advent calendar or chain. Use a blank month of December calendar or strips of paper linked together, and take turns writing in activities for each day or week.
Make memories for the New Year. Reflect on the previous year and capture children’s memories that can become part of your family and church story. Capture these on camera, draw pictures, write songs or have older children journal.
Build a nativity snack. Gingerbread house kits are in abundance at Christmas, but bring Jesus back to the focus of Christmas and build a Nativity set. Each class or family will need four large pretzel rods, two graham crackers, one Hershey Treasure candy, one Tootsie Roll candy, two pretzel sticks, one marshmallow, five animal crackers and the Nativity snack directions. (You also will need waxed paper and a container of frosting.)
Decorate a Jesse Tree. Connect the decorating of the Christmas tree to Jesus’ birth through the story of the Jesse Tree.
God of Love,
Your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.
He is a sign of your love.
Help us walk in that love during the weeks of Advent,
As we wait and prepare for his coming.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior.