Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Season of Coming (Advent) Is Coming!

(I know, the post title is pretty cheesy - that's my mood tonight!)

Advent begins two weeks from today! Are you ready? Do you have a beautiful binder  like Dawn put together in which to keep track of all of your seasonal stuff? Are your plans ready? Do you need some inspiration to get started or to finish up your plans? I did!

Here is my post of ideas from last year, and this link will take you to all of my Advent posts. Every year is unique, however, and I had a special treat to motivate me.

Yesterday morning I basked in the delightful conversation of five wonderful women! We had breakfast with the intention of sharing Advent and Christmas ideas, and boy, did we ever share! I laughed to myself near the end of the meeting, as I realized we had covered nearly all of the 48 bullet points that I had ambitiously typed in our discussion starter handout!

Ideas for Advent in Our Domestic Churches
• Solemnity of Christ the King
• Thanksgiving
• Advent Wreath
• Advent Calendar
• Activity/Action Calendar
• Daily Prayers
• Jesse Tree
• O Antiphons/Novena (Dec. 17-23)
• Candles in Windows
• Christ Candle
• Purple Bows/Red Bows on Wreaths
• Christmas Lights
• Christmas Trees
• Nativity Sets
• Poinsettias
• Greenery & Holly
• Stockings (Jesus Stocking)
• Angel/Giving Trees
• Shoeboxes
• Advent Angels in the Home
• Straw in the Manger
• Sending Cards
• Receiving Cards
• Buying & Giving Gifts
• Making Gifts
• Making & Baking Goodies
• Christmas Mosaic
• Book a Day
• Lapbooks
• Christkindl Letters
• Music/Hymns/Carols
• Crafts
• Unit Studies
• Feast of St. Andrew – 11/30
• St. Francis Xavier – 12/3
• St. Nicholas (opt.) – 12/6
• St. Ambrose – 12/7
• Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 12/8
• St. Juan Diego (opt.) – 12/9
• Our Lady of Guadalupe – 12/12 (Sunday)
• St. Lucy – 12/13
• St. John of the Cross – 12/14
• Twelve Days of Christmas – 12/25 - 1/5
• Feast of the Holy Family – 12/26 (Sunday)
• Feast of St. John – 12/27
• Feast of the Holy Innocents – 12/28
• Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God – 1/1
• Epiphany of the Lord – 1/2 (Sunday)

We covered it all, and then some, encouraging one another to not overwhelm ourselves or our children but to truly make this liturgical season meaningful. To begin our discussion, I read aloud the beautiful piece by Jennifer Mackintosh from Wildflowers and Marbles titled "Preparing Our Hearts for Him: A Reflection on Nesting with Our Lady" printed in the recently released FREE electronic edition of mater et magistra, but more on that article another day! I just think it is amazing how each of these external practices can do so much to lead us closer to Christ if they truly come from the heart.

In case there is something on the above list with which you are not familiar or you are in need of inspiration for sharing one of these traditions with your family, below are the links used to compile the above list and shared in our breakfast discussion. Perhaps you will find some new idea to bring the joy of anticipation to your domestic church.

Links for Inspiration and Quality Resources
Fridge Art Ideas from
Weekly Coloring Pages, Lesson Plans, and More at Catholic Mom
Jessica's Liturgical Posts at Shower of Roses
Charlotte's Beautiful Coloring Pages for Feast Days
Charlotte's Amazing Advent Posts at Waltzing Matilda
Articles, Prayers, and More at Women for Faith & Family
The Awesome St. Nicholas Center
Maria Von Trapp's Inspiring Advent Thoughts
Karen's No-Panic Advent Series
Advent Lapbook PDF Download for Sale
Lacy's Collection of Links at Catholic Icing
Mary Ellen's O Night Divine Blog
Free Christmas Around the World Lapbook
Free Issue of Mater et Magistra on Advent
Meaningful Recipes for the Season at Catholic Cuisine
Samaritan Purse's Operation Christmas Child
Holy Heroes Sign Up for Free Advent Adventures Daily Emails
Illuminated Ink's Jesse Tree Ornament Kit
Our Sunday Visitor's Free Jesse Tree Coloring Pages
Tomie de Paola Free Online Advent Unit Study
Elizabeth's Real Learning Advent Lesson Plans
Cay's Information About Christmas Mosaic Including Booklist
Christmas Mosaic, An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas by Cay Gibson
Advent Storybook by Antonie Schneider and Advent Storybook Advent Calendar

The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide

The Way to Bethlehem by Inos Biffi

If you have a favorite resource that I have not shared above, please post it in the comments! There are so many incredible ideas out there that I know I have missed many, but I wanted to share with my readers these examples of meaningful activities and books.

We had such a wonderful time at breakfast that we will likely meet again in December, and you, too, will benefit from that conversation with a blog post about our discussion! As soon as we decide on a topic, I will let you know!

Happy planning!

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