Totally Missing the Point
With my 2006 reversion to the Catholic faith came an acute awareness that for most of my life I had rushed Christmas. I missed out on the beauty and joy of the season of ADVENT! That glorious period of preparing and waiting on the birth of my Lord and Savior on the Feast of the Nativity (aka Christmas) clearly absent from my family's traditions. The irony here? When I do include the celebration of the season of Advent, it actually prolongs that beloved feeling of joy associated with Christmas! So ... from the Saturday after Thanksgiving (although technically Advent begins on December 3, 2017) until the Epiphany (some time in January) this family rocks all the liturgical calendar has to offer.
Catholic Women Bloggers Know How to Advent
My family is changing so quickly. I miss having my little kids eager to celebrate the season with me. However, I do still have an 11 year-old and lots of great memories to sustain me each year. Here are a few Advent memories my family loved.
Advent Calendar of Books
One of my favorite homemade advent calendars included wrapping new (and recycled from our bookshelf) Advent and Christmas themed books. I numbered them and placed them in a basket. Each morning one of my children would unwrap the book; since they were homeschooled by in those days, we'd read it all cuddled up on the couch before beginning our day. This is also a wonderful way to begin to foster morning prayer time.
St. Nicholas, the real Santa
On the special feast days of December (and there are several good ones include Our Lady of Guadalupe) such as St. Nicholas Day on December 6th, the children would have also found their shoes filled with oranges, small trinkets and chocolate. As a germaphobe ... I have to admit this usually involved me buying NEW CHRISTMAS shoes early so we'd be placing those edibles in CLEAN shoes!!
Special Family Moments
My friend, Heidi Bratton shared an amazing tradition when she visited my radio show, A Seeking Heart in 2016 to discuss her then new book - Finding God's Peace in Everyday Challenges (**in which the struggle Faith and I had when first united is featured). During Advent, her family holds candlelit dinners. They start in complete darkness and sing a hymn, then her children take turns each night lighting the Advent wreath. This is probably my favorite part of the tradition-- they would then dine only by that light! I'd be happy these days just to get all three of my children to be together at the TABLE for a meal.
It is simple the ways we can slow the season and be sure to keep Advent...well, Advent. Christmas will be here soon enough! Share you ideas in the comments below; and be sure to visit the other fabulous Advent Traditions My Family Loves posts on this month's Catholic Women Bloggers Network Blog Hop!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Save the above image - and snap a photo according to the days theme (you can find these next to each accompanying Advent date on the graphic).
Then hashtag #SnapAdvent and the theme you are sharing - it is OK if you do multiple days at a time - it is the holidays we WILL all have a day or 2 that we fall behind! DON'T forget to tag me @reconciledtoyou ! You can also tag either of my partner in creating the original ADVENTure SnapAdvent: Laure Lynch @lynchlm
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and SnapChat:
Not on Instagram but still want to participate? Or perhaps just want to post in multiple places - I know I will be. DON'T Forget to tag me @reconciledtoyou (on all social media platforms) and include #SnapAdvent (or #SnapAdvent2017) and a hashtag for the day's theme.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016 (reprint 2017)
How Do YOU Advent?
Mary's Magnificat & Songs of Praise
In 2014, I journeyed through Advent with The Living Gospel: Daily Devotions for Advent 2014, by R. Scott Hurd.
I cleverly called the series, ADVENTures with Allison - catchy right! One of the reflections was titled, "Music to My Ears" and began as follows:
"Today's gospel (Luke 1:46-56 aka The Magnificat) presents to us what we might consider to be the first Christmas song, Mary's Magnificat...her song is about what God the Father has done for all of humanity." This got me thinking about God has done for me, not only throughout my life, but even in just the last few months.
A list of accomplishments and blessings from 2014 followed (you can read the original list here). However, I thought today's Worth Revisit post warranted an updated list, as the Lord continues to pour out his blessings upon me and my family.
Here is my 2016 song of thanksgiving:
What Blessings Would Be included in Yours? *Share Below
Good Advent Reading
For Advent (2013) I read When Faith Feels Fragile by R. Scott Hurd. His book, "Forgiveness: The Catholic Approach" has been an instrumental part of the women's retreats I offer on forgiveness. I honestly can not imagine what my life would be like if I had NOT discovered that book when I did!!
When Faith Feels Fragile is Scott Hurd's second book (fast forward ... Around the Table his most recent publication (Ave Maria Press) will be featured onA Seeking Heart the 2nd week of December!) and when I heard of the release I was more than eager to dive in!! I love Scott's easy to read, right to the core of the matter, touches the heart style of teaching of the faith. This book is organized into 40 short chapters, making it a perfect companion for Advent/Christmas as well as (of course) for Lent.
Chapter One, was so thought provoking, my hand-written journal entry was almost as long as the chapter. Here are the abridged version of my thoughts:
Impediments to developing or maintaining a stronger faith
Speaking of grace:
** GRACE: The undeserved, yet freely given gift of God's Holy Spirit within us. In that Spirit we are better able to accept God's call in our lives - a call to be holy because He is holy and to positively respond to His Will in our lives. All we need to do is be open to receive it and cooperate with it. (Allison abridged definition)**
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2013; 2016