Friday, December 12, 2014

Watching, waiting during the Advent Season

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving with their families!  We had a great Thanksgiving that started with cinnamon rolls, the parade and the sales papers and then continued to my husband's family's home for dinner.  We got home around 10 and then I woke up at 5:30 AM to do the Christmas shopping.  I shopped all day until about 2PM.  I got so many great deals and basically finished all my shopping except some online purchases, which as a write are also done. So why do I start off a Catholic blog post that is suppose to discuss preparation for Christmas with shopping? Because I enjoy getting all the shopping done in one day and never going back into the mall again and spending the rest of my time focused on Advent.  Think about it, I was done before the first Sunday of Advent!

I started my Advent by reading The Season of the Nativity.  It was a very easy read that discussed a variety of ideas of how to bring the Advent season alive in the home.  Our family devotion consists of an Advent wreath and a Jesse Tree.
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Advent Wreath purchased at St. Ann's Gifts in Orland Park, IL. 

Every night we sing the Advent Chant in the book, add to the Jesse Tree and then read a prayer in what we call the "blue book" which is a daily devotion our parish gives out.  A little Advent 101: an Advent wreath is a count down until Christmas.  Each Sunday a new candle is lit.  Week 1, 2 and 4 the purple candles are lit and on the third Sunday the pink candle is lit.  On Christmas some wreaths change to all white candles. Since we have a spot for a white candle we just light them all until the Epiphany.  The Jesse Tree can be anything that reminds you of a tree. Some of us use a stand, or a miniature tree.  Others use their Christmas tree and do not decorate it with the usual ornaments until Christmas.  It really doesn't matter. What matters is that each day a different ornament is added to the tree each day. Each ornament represents a story in the Old Testament that leads up the birth of Christ.

My personal devotion has been a very busy one.  I just completed the Immaculate Conception Novena yesterday.  I am continuing the Christmas Novena.  I also printed an Advent Calendar and instead of just writing what I am praying for within the novenas I have been adding color and illustrations to it.  In the end  I will have a colorful calendar with all my intentions that I prayed for throughout the season.  Lastly in the morning I have been reading the gospel of the day and using the Magnificent Advent edition to reflect on the gospels.
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Virgin Mary statue, a gift from the passing of my mother and the crucifix purchased at Family Christian Book Stores. 

Since we moved here this past summer I have been determined to figure out a prayer space.  I read the book The Little Oratory.  I will review it in a later post.  Yesterday I added a statue and rose for Mary, the Immaculate Conception in honor of her feast day.

We have not decorated for Christmas and I hope you have not either!  It is not time yet!  Enjoy Advent.  Consider putting our your nativity scene with just the animals and shepherds.  Put out four candles even if they are not the Advent colors, put ribbons around them instead.  Consider doing a Jesse tree.  You can find lots of print outs online that the children can color and use as ornaments on any tree or plant in the house or the Christmas tree.  Put out purple lights. It is not time yet to be in full celebration, we are in waiting.  Read a new book about Christmas or Mary.  Attend Mass one extra time during the week or spend time in adoration. Focus on the time of waiting for the Lord.

If you must decorate consider decorating next weekend on Laetare Sunday which is the third Sunday of Advent or on the Feast of Saint Lucy which is also next weekend. Both represent light and that Christ is near and so we can begin to prepare for Him.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to wait a bit and celebrate waiting through Advent!

Happy Advent and God Bless!

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