A Blessed Advent to You

In preparation for Advent this year, I started looking through all of the notes that have been collected over the years.  Wow!  Talk about overwhelming!  After 10 years of homeschooling the stuff can really pile up.  What I finally reached for was some gentle plans that my friend Jennifer had given me last year.  She was even kind enough to give me the updated for 2011 version this year.  She has also generously put them up on her blog, Wildflowers and Marbles.  While writing this post I found that Jennifer has a few more advent posts there.  I can’t wait to read them.   My husband printed out Jennifer’s plans in color for me (I only have black and white) and made a sort of scrap-book out of them.  There were some older sketching books lying around just begging to be used!  First the pages with Advent customs were glued in.  After that, all the little boxes for each day were cut out and given two pages.  This allows me to add notes and other things that we might want to add (for example pictures if I can ever remember to take any).  Several saint stickers were added to their corresponding pages.

This year I updated an older St. Nicholas Unit Study and we are using that as well, so the St. Nicholas is titled in red with the readings listed below it.

A tradition we have kept here for several years now is putting out a manger for the Baby Jesus.  It starts out empty and then the children fill it with straw or little pieces of tan-colored yarn whenever they do a good deed (usually secretly.)   We let them include Masses and other prayers to  help build the spiritual crib as well.  On Christmas morning we bring our baby Jesus statue out and put Him in the crib.  (Yes, it has been dropped on the tile floor in the past and has been glued.  But that makes it all the more special.)

One Advent resource that I am so happy to see survived is O Night Divine started by my friend Mary Ellen.  It is a blog that has had wonderful contributors and has a wealth of activities, recipes, and more to follow along with Advent.

One other activity that has been calling me for the past several years is an O Antiphon house.  There was a parade of them a few years ago.  We bought all the materials we need, but have never completed it.  Hopefully this is the year!  Motivation is not lacking this year, not that it has been in years past, either, but this year planning has been done early and I feel ready!  Deo Gratius!  Here is a link to Catholic Culture’s page of instruction for the houses.  I’m hoping some of the artists in our household will do the art work on them.   Here, here, and here are some snapshots from around the internet.

This year we will also pray a novena to St. Andrew with an intention for the parish of Our Lady Help of Christians.  We’ve been in a temporary church for over 3 years now and it would be so nice to be in a permanent place.  Please say a little prayer for that intention if you would.  Thank you.

Hopefully there will be some Advent pictures from our family here in the very near future.  The children have already made paper St. Nicholas’s that stand up and done a few coloring sheets.  We have done many St. Nicholas readings and a few others as well.

The big addition to our Advent this year is the tradition of the Christkindl.  As written in Jennifer’s plans…

‘Christkindl — All the names of the family members are written on small pieces of paper and placed in a hat or a large bowl.  Secretly, each member of the family chooses a name.  The name drawn will be in someone’s special care for the entire season.  This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child).  From Around the Year With the Trapp Family:

From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can.  One has to provide at least one surprise every single day – but without ever being found out.  This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness.  Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up. ~ The person whose name I have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing these many little acts of love and consideration for someone in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem, according to the word, “And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.” ‘

As the family sat around the table one night after dinner, we discussed this tradition and the children were very excited about it.  I don’t even know who has who.  We left it to the older 5 children figuring that the 3-year-old might not get it quite yet.  I’m sure she’ll join in next year.

How are you celebrating Advent this year?

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One Response to “A Blessed Advent to You”

  1. Pat Georgi Says:

    Before you leave facebook, please go and look at Vicki Falkinburgs pictures and see the Advent wreath that Joy made in my Art class. It stressed the Christmas story and a bit was told each day with a matching leaf to be added to the wreath, with completion on Christmas. It was a pleasure for me to teach and not have to worry about being politically correct.

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