Get Your Advent On

Advent is here. If you’ve been looking for a non-threatening, non-awkward way to introduce more prayer time into your family life, Advent is your ticket!

©Edyta Linek/Getty Images

©Edyta Linek/Getty Images

Here are lots of great ideas and resources for you:

Traditions
You've heard about these. Maybe you've dabbled in a few? Check them out!

  • Advent Wreath: The USCCB website explains how the "progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead."
  • Christian Advent Calendar: Loyola Press offers many different kinds of Advent calendars that count down not to Santa Claus, but to JESUS! 
  • Jesse Tree: Our Sunday Visitor is a great place to visit for free printables and an explanation of the Jesse Tree, which is a walk backwards in time with Jesus' ancestors.
  • Crèche: St. Francis of Assisi launched the tradition of depicting the Holy Family in the stable. If your family doesn't have a crèche, this out-of-control Pinterest page will definitely provide inspiration.

 

Online Resources
The Internet is simply bursting with ways to bring your family closer to Jesus. For real!

  • Catholic Mom is always loaded with activities for every season of the year. Advent and Christmas are no exception.
  • Holy Heroes has free Advent activities and videos many families enjoy.
  • The Apostleship of Prayer offers daily Advent scripture reflections and much more.

 

Stuff My Friends Tell Me
Sometimes local wisdom can't be beat. Here are ideas from families I know and love.

  •  Make a manger from sticks in the yard; children add cotton balls to the manger for good deeds they perform during Advent.
  • Create a paper chain counting down the days to Christmas; write a scripture passage or prayer intention on each link.
  • Let children hold baby Jesus during nighttime prayers.
  • Wrap up one Christmas story for every day of Advent.
  • Replace that roguish “Elf on the Shelf” with a “Wandering Wiseman” who does a good deed each night. 
  • Prepare Advent treasure chests to present to Jesus on his birthday. Grab some cheap plastic gems from the dollar store that children can add to their chests when they do good deeds.
  • Change dinner prayers to involve darkness, candlelight, and silence. Instead of launching into the family's familiar meal prayer each night, try turning off the lights, lighting an Advent candle, and sitting together in silence for a few seconds for a unique prayer experience.
  • Read a bit from an Advent book each night. The Jotham's Journey series of books lend themselves well to brief readings every evening.

 

The very, very good news is that Jesus is inviting us into a closer relationship with him.
Advent helps us focus on the beautiful gift of Jesus Christ.
God bless you!