Preparing the way of the Lord during Advent
Just as Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, patiently and joyfully awaited the birth of their baby boy thousands of years ago, we are a people waiting in joyful anticipation for the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Advent season begins this year on Sunday November 29 and continues through Thursday December 24. Advent marks a time of joyful waiting. The character of Advent is two-fold: it's a time to prepare for the solemnities of Christmas in which the arrival of Jesus on earth thousands of years ago is remembered and celebrated. But it is also a time to recall that which we express each week in our profession of faith at Mass, that "Christ will come (again) in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil." (CCC, 681)
During this Advent season "be on the lookout" for Jesus and respond to his presence just like John the Baptist did when he leapt for joy in his mother Elizabeth's womb, and like the shepherds in the field who believed and responded to the angel's proclamation. Look for Jesus in the faces of those you encounter each day, seek him out in your practice of daily prayer, and announce the presence of Jesus to others in whatever way your personal, spiritual gifts call you to do so. Allow your words and actions to point others toward Christ, by placing him at the center of your heart and mind.
- Praying Advent
O Antiphons: The O Antiphons are short prayers said from December 17 through December 23 and recount the different names for Jesus and our longing for the Messiah. Click here to find one approach to praying the O Antiphons as a family.
For online and printable Advent calendars, prayers and inspiration, Click Here, (Loyola Press)
Sign up to receive the daily messages from the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020, through Christmas. The messages will come from the Year in Our Church from Loyola Press.
Family Prayers. Click here .
- Living Advent in our homes
Christmas Crib: Perfect tradition to do with children! Place an empty manger (Baby Jesus crib) in the center of your advent wreath. Slowly fill it with straw every time a family member makes a sacrifice or performs a good work or deed. The idea is to teach children about sacrifices and to make a comfy bed for the Baby Jesus. On Christmas night, add the Baby Jesus for the children to wake up to.
Celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6: Click here to read an article that has a description of a great way to celebrate St. Nicholas Day in a Catholic home.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church. The most important way to celebrate it is to go to Mass. Click here to read an article that explains the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, how it is celebrated around the world and has additional ideas on how to celebrate it in your home as well.
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12: A young children’s explanation and coloring sheets - https://mycatholickids.com/our-lady-of-guadalupe/
A page with activities and video links explaining the story of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe - https://teachingcatholickids.com/celebrating-the-feast-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe/
The Jesse Tree: Instead of trimming your tree the usual way, during Advent, consider making it into a Jesse Tree with ornaments that represent the people, prophesies and events that led up to the birth of Jesus.
- Younger children’s craft - https://www.catholicicing.com/advent-wreath-craft-for-kids/
- Older children through adult craft - https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=954
- Center Piece Advent'urous Design
How can families better live the spirit of Advent and Christmas in their homes? Click here (Catholic Education Resource Center)
- Christmas is coming
Announcement of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord from the Roman Martyrology
This proclamation is traditionally read before Mass on Christmas Eve night. If you won’t be at a Christmas night Mass to hear it read, you might consider proclaiming this in your home before any festivities begin on Christmas.
Christmas Proclamation PDF
Festival of Lessons and Carols
In the Festival of Lessons and Carols, there are nine scripture passages, corresponding songs and prayers that take us through the Fall, the promise of a Messiah, the Incarnation, and the Great Commission to preach the Good News. All the music can be found on YouTube and Spotify (make a play list ahead of time). If it looks too long for one sitting for your family, you can break it up into sections.
Celebrating Christmas … in its entirety
Did you know that Christmas actually lasts through the Baptism of the Lord which is Jan. 10 in 2021? The link below is full of ideas to help celebrate Christmas in a special way, including saints’ feast days, the Solemnity of Mary on January 1, the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. Some ideas take a bit of preparation while others are simple. https://teachingcatholickids.com/celebrate-christmas/
- Cooking Catholic
Recipes from FAITH magazine's "Catholic Culture" writer Michelle DiFranco
Menus to celebrate the liturgical seasons and feast days
Check out the blog “Catholic Cuisine” to find specially themed recipes and meals to celebrate our Catholic faith. You can find December’s recipes here: