Are you ready? I am not, as usual.
But, I said this last year and I'll repeat it again this year, I love our Catholic faith and that we have been given this special way of bringing on Christmas. This season for preparing our hearts to receive our Lord. We have some time to be quiet and to anticipate the joy. I find it comforting. Those words are still so true for me. I am trying to find ways to introduce Advent to Gabriel (and Nathan too, although for him I think most of the meaning will not be understood. I think at his age it's more about the ritual. Creating memories that are tied to this season). Gabe is now at the age where he will concentrate long enough on a craft or activity for it to impart meaning, if that is what I intend. So while I am by no means prepared yet, I'm working on making a list of simple activities that we (being me and Gabe) can do during the weeks ahead as well as activities that we can all do together as a family.
Growing up my mom did very little for Advent, (it's not a criticism, so why even bring that up? Because I find that my husband and I truly are building this domestic church of ours from scratch. We are learning as we go and doing our best to pass our Catholic faith onto our children) but we always had an Advent wreath, and it is a tradition that will continue in our family as well. Ours is very simple, the most simple - a brass ring with four candle holders. It is from Catholic Supply and it only cost $4.95. I do place a wreath of greenery around ours (that I bought at Michaels with a coupon, so again, very inexpensive). More than anything else, the Advent wreath says to me, Christmas is coming.
As for resources and ideas, one of my favorite Catholic bloggers, Karen Edmisten, has compiled an enormous list of ideas and activities for Advent. Lots of great ideas for children of all ages; I'm hoping to sit down with that list this weekend and make my final selections. =) I will be turning to her book list for certain before we head-off on our next library trip (scroll down to Part IX). Another resource that I'll be looking to for ideas is this book: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in the Domestic Church.
Although a quick scan of the book tells me that some of the crafts might be a little too complicated for Gabe. I really try to keep things simple so that he can do as much of the work as possible, otherwise he loses interest. I'll be taking a closer look at this book this weekend too.
Besides digging out the Advent wreath and finding age-appropriate activities for the boys, my other plans for Advent include spending a little more time in prayer. Since I love my monthly Magnificat and have been very happy with the quality and depth of the content there I went ahead and ordered their Advent Companion:
again, very inexpensive and yet something that I'm sure will bring more peace and meaning to the season. (Also, I should mention that it's not too late to order - when I sent away for mine I received it very quickly and that was with a mail-in order. You can buy it online as well).
Finally, if you're looking for something for yourself in the way of spiritual reading during this season, The Anchoress put up a list of books and links to keep in mind for Advent. I do wish I had more time to read something a bit deeper this year, but I'm trying to be realistic. No need to get overwhelmed unnecessarily, that is not what this season is about.
I'll try to share photos of the projects and activities that we do throughout this season, but as always, I make no promises. Even as a scrapbooker sometimes I enjoy just sitting back and being in the moment, instead of trying to always photograph the moment. Even if that moment lasts four weeks. =)
As always, until next time, God bless.