Saturday, November 30, 2013

Three Things I love about Advent

The word Advent comes from the Latin “advenit” which means “he is coming.”  
And the Latin word for “Watch” is “Vigilate.”
The English words “be vigilant” from that; 
Vigilant means alert, wide awake.

1.
I love the traditions of the advent season and how each family celebrates it is as individual and unique as each family is. The Catholic traditions practiced in the home express and illustrate our own family's culture. The rituals are ones from our own childhood, families we admire or ideas in books and movies. That beauty we want to bring in and make part of our culture, our traditions, that make our family...us. 

My mother had an unbreakable nativity set when we were kids; we were welcomed to handle and play with during advent. As a new mom, it was the first thing added to our advent traditions, along with the advent wreath on the kitchen table. As a kid, I loved to watch the candles burn and drip wax down the candles and on the table, hoping some of each candle make it to the next week. One usually didn't last that long, a sign we often had dinner together, the only time we lit the candles. Warm memories, I want my kids to share in.

There are so many opportunities in Advent and Christmas time for making warm memories and starting family traditions. This special time to stop and welcome Christ into our lives, make sure we keep pulling our focus back to Him when we countdown days on the Advent Calendar, and light a candle on the Advent wreath, and when we read the Old Testament stories pointing to Christ.

I really enjoy learning about others' traditions. Some put their tree up for Thanksgiving festivities or many wait until Christmas eve. I enjoy hearing and seeing other traditions, and know we all have our own beautiful ways to celebrate the season and welcome Christ into our hearts and home. There isn't one right way or wrong way to wait in joyful hope.

2.
I love the Richness of the Season.
Everything looks more festive by candle light. Starting in Advent we have more candles lit and it spreads a sense of awe through the children. It signifies something is different, something special.

Music! We love to listen to and sing O Come O Come Emmanuel. It is the age old haunting call to Christ to come to us. Remembering the longing of the ancient Hebrews knowing He will come, but to wonder when. As we wait upon His second coming.

We do have a challenge to balance the festivities of the season with the penitential nature of Advent. The priest wears violet as a reminder, this is a penitential season. Advent keeps bringing our focus back to Christ.

We don't resist Christmas music, Christmas recitals, parties, gatherings, but approach each with the proper attitude of preparing and waiting for Christ's birth with the gift of knowing He came and fulfilled the age old promises and that we are still waiting for him to come again. We save our full celebrations for Christmas and the following week. There is usually much to fit in a short period of time.

We slowly bring out decorations during the Advent season, weekly making changes to our home. Bringing out the decorations is like greeting old friends each year. We read books, poems and listen to and play music reserved for this time of year, trying to align our home festivities with Liturgical Season also celebrating the saints whose feast fall during December like St. Nicholas, St, Lucia, St. Eulalia and Our Lady of Guadalupe. I especially love to end the season with Midnight Mass.

3
I love the call to simplify during Advent, when the world is calling us to do otherwise. Some years I listen and obey the message better than others. Traditions help to keep it simple, instead of creating a new plan each year. Different kids have different activities they enjoy and don't enjoy about the season.

This season is about Love.
The meaning of Life is Love.
The true meaning of Christmas is Love.

Jesus is Love!


It's that simple.

Gifts? Budget? Shopping? Food preparation? Balancing schedules with parties and recitals and all. Yes, we still have to manage and survive this. But keeping our focus on Jesus, keeps us prayerfully centered so instead of buyers remorse, by Christmas Day, our goal is to have an enriched spiritual life.

Happy Advent!

2 comments:

  1. Your baby Jesus is so adorable! I enjoyed reading about your favorites of Advent. Our candles never make it through to Christmas, either. I always have to replace the first two weeks because they burn all the way down. May your Advent season be blessed!

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  2. Mary, this is so beautiful. We celebrate Advent much the same way you do. I'm not especially gifted at staying in the moment, so Advent is really good for me.

    Thanks for linking up!

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