Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Request: How to Celebrate Advent?

This is my first Advent season in many, many years. My husband is not Catholic, so I'll be celebrating Advent on my own. But I want to really celebrate it as a new "reclaimer" of my Catholic faith. What would you suggest? I'm looking forward to this season but not sure how to properly celebrate it. Thanks for any suggestions!


X said...

I use Advent candles, will be more diligent about praying the Rosary, will be more diligent about reading the daily readings, try to get to Mass more (weather permitting), try to tone down the pre-Christmas hysteria of parties and gift buying. I have a book somehwere on Advent reflections and I think I will read "Life of Christ" by Abp. Sheen again.

I also make sure to go to confession. When I was waiting for my annulment I could not go to confession though - I am assuming you are in the same boat.

*Linda Pinda* said...

Dearest Mary Rose...
Advent is just about my very favorite season of the year. While the rest of the world is busy with the hype of that secular "Christmas" season, we are blessed with this most unique time of preparation and reflection.

As a mother of little children, my very favorite Advent tradition is bringing out the nativity set and placing the empty setting out. Then we read the scripture about Gabriel bringing God's message to Mary, and one child places Mary... alone... in the stable. All week, this serves as a visible reminder to meditate on Mary's holy "yes".

Each Sunday of advent, we read more scripture and add the appropriate pieces, until FINALLY... On Christmas Eve, the littlest family member lovingly places the baby Jesus in the center of the nativity scene.

Then the wise men begin their journey from a far corner of the room until Epiphany Sunday when they join in as well!

We try to focus as a family on the 3 "waitings" of advent... The original "Old Testament" waiting for the savior, The waiting for "this" particular Christmas feast, and of course, most importantly... Our true advent journey... waiting for His second coming. That is after all what it's all about... preparing for that day.

We read lives of the saints, especially what we refer to as "Advent Saints", like John the Baptist, and others.

I spend more time reading scripture. We give "alms" to others, but also to each other, as a family, through extra acts of kindness, forgiveness, and generosity.

And we end our evening prayertime around the advent wreath by singing Oh, Come Oh, Come Emmanuel together...

By the time Christmas gets here, the little ones are very aware of the true gift that it is and not just focussed on gifts. Last year, when we all gathered around the tree Christmas morning, my 5 year old son said "shouldn't we start by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus"? And our 7 year old daughter dug under the tree looking for the gifts that she had made and/or bought for everyone else before she opened a single one of her gifts!!!

Then, of course, when the rest of the world is throwing their trees to the curb, etc... we are beginning our Christmas season!

I cannot imagine trying to celebrate a holy Christmas in this world without the preparation of advent. It is such an amazing gift.

I cannot wait to hear how you celebrate and what quiet gifts you embrace from this wonderful season.

Much Love... *Linda*

Rachel said...

Last year was my first Advent as a Catholic and I really loved praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Every day I'd do at least the Office of Readings, and usually Morning Prayer as well. It perfectly whetted my appetite for Christmas since it's made to match the liturgical calendar. I forget whether you have an Advent breviary but if not, it's all online: http://www.universalis.com/

Unknown said...

Advent is about preparing for Christ's coming- both at Christmas as well as for His second coming at the end of time. But I have found over these past few years that Jesus wants to reveal himself to me each advent in a very special and personal way. So now each year I pray on how He wants to come to me this particular Christmas. He always has something amazing in store for me. And I always ask Him what He would like for His birthday. Have a Blessed Advent and Christmas!

Elisabeth said...

Mary Rose, I had a serendipity this weekend - performing Handel's Messiah with the Carolina Ballet. Messiah is a perfect musical commemoration for Advent, as Part 1 anticipates His coming in History, Part 3 the Coming in Judgment - and throughout the whole thing there are allusions to His coming into the individual human heart.

I urge you to attend a performance - or buy it on CD and crank it up really loudly.

Also make it to a penance service if you can, and make an extra Holy Hour... Advent is a penitential season as we strip down the non-essentials to prepare for His coming.