It is my favorite time of the year!!! Also, this year being a Catholic has its perks because the year 2020 is over and we have moved into the New year already! We begin our church year with the beautiful liturgical season of Advent. When we went to church this past Sunday, we saw we have changed from green to purple! We prepare ourselves for the Lord by staying awake and being ready. We try to make this liturgical season a special season in our home. We do special things, and we celebrate the beautiful saints of the season.
I thought I would take a moment to help other families build their domestic churches. I apologize for this article being a couple of days late, but it is never to late to start. If your family is anything like mine, we do not do things according to the books, and that is, in my opinion, perfectly fine. As you may know, this is our families first year of homeschooling, thus, I am fully responsible for my children’s experience of Advent, which to me, is extremely exciting. We prepared last week by creating a beautiful Advent wreath on our fireplace mantle in our “classroom”! We were ready!!!
The first Sunday of Advent arrived and guess what, this domestic church, went to Mass, but forgot to light our own Advent Wreath at home to pray with. Tsk! Tsk!! See, we are a family that never does things according to plans. In the past, when I worked full time, we did Advent Calendars and prayers around the supper table. We did not have much time for anything else, but I knew they were being supplemented in their Catholic School and I knew they were reflecting on the meaning of the Advent season. This year I wanted to do something different. There are so many beautiful Advent traditions you can incorporate into your family, but please do not be like me and try to put everything into one season…remember there will be another Advent next year.
Some of the beautiful traditions out there are daily reflections that can be found written by many publishing companies, you can even get them delivered right to your email or via text message. The Jesse Tree is an age-old tradition that teaches children about the beauty of our Salvation History.
Of course, there are the Advent Calendars that help children see the days progress towards the coming of our Lord. We have done chocolate squares, Legos, cars, plain old numbers where we move a star, and the list goes on and on. This year I found an amazing product that Lara Beeston created called “Names of Jesus.” Each day of December you reflect on one of the different names Jesus was called or referred to in Scripture. My kids have loved this!!!
I am NOT a fan of Elf on the Shelf, but when The Star from Afar came out I bought into that tradition too. Now my older children hide it for their little brother who searches for it every morning…it is really nice not to have to remember to hide it every day! (I was never good at that!) Now I see that there is a stuffed doll that is supposed to represent Mary, and I think that’s awesome!
Saints!!! Saints in Advent are amazing. St. Andrew, St. Barbara, St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, St. Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucy, and the list goes on and on. This house celebrates saints!!! The shoes on St. Nicholas day. Mexican food on St. Juan Diego. One could make a Christ candle on the feast of St. Ambrose. Our family truly celebrates St. Lucy in a big way. Our oldest daughter gets her name from this marvelous saint and her story is amazing. We have crowns of light and make special breads. There is so much that a family could do.
Folks the point of this blog is not to overwhelm you, but instead to let you know that there are tons of traditions you can do as a family to celebrate the liturgical season of Advent. As I said earlier, you do not have to do everything, pick one or two things that will speak to your family and help them grow closer to Christ. That is the entire point of Advent, isn’t it? To alert ourselves to Christ, to grow in knowledge of Him, and to love Him more and more each day.
As the primary educators of our children, especially in matters of faith, not only are we called to prepare our children for Christ’s coming and help them grow closer to the person of Christ than they were at the beginning of Advent, but we are also called to bring ourselves closer to Christ. Afterall, if we are not closer to Christ at the end of Advent than we were at the beginning of Advent all we did was change from green to purple!