Monday, December 2, 2013

Three Things I Love About Advent

I have so enjoyed reading all the bloggers gushing about their favorite Advent traditions through Micaela from California to Korea (and back again)'s link up. Especially awesome is Micaela's original post about Kairos. So beautiful. Couldn't resist adding my own...

The Gospel - It's not called The Greatest Story Ever Told for nothin'. It is our own family tradition to read a full Gospel over the course of both Advent and Lent. I know there are plenty of other prayers and set readings that are great for enriching the Advent experience, but years ago I felt the children (and I) would greatly benefit from reading the Gospels in their entirety in a short period of time, and thus began our tradition. I cannot tell you how much this has meant to me, reading the Gospels always helps my relationship with Christ Himself like nothing else I have experienced. And reading them aloud to my children, constantly brimming with questions, always forces me to look at my faith more deeply and search for answers to questions I before had never pondered. I pray at this time that they too, my little ones, will come to know the heart of Christ, will come to understand that is in fact the heart of all it is that we are here for, why we do what we do. Unless they themselves fall completely in love with the person of Christ, all of the lessons and posturing and ideals we labor to instill in them will dry up in  their souls like the seed planted in rocky soil. I feel like this reading of the Gospels in preparation for Christmas opens the window for them to encounter the person the Christ, and know who this Baby is in swaddling clothes, plastic and smiling beneath the Christmas tree.

This Advent we are reading Matthew, consisting of 28 chapters. Most chapters can be read in a matter of minutes, and we generally read two a night during our prayer time, and of course, some nights none at all. So it works out. 


Advent Wreath - The Church in her great wisdom recognizes that being made in God's image means we long for beauty in our daily lives, our physical selves encounter God's Spirit through concrete realities and we recognize that yes, we have senses, yes, they are good and holy. The Advent wreath embodies this for me. We put our Advent wreath on the dining room table and light the appropriate candles with special prayers every evening. We let them burn throughout the whole meal, adding a wonderfully special level of formality to our regular beastly carnage. 

Thanks Advent!


Countdown to Christmas Advent calendars with daily candy - What? You don't like fun? Lighten up, enjoy the anticipation!

This year I attached bags with six candies to our lovely Target felt decor because I was tired of the hardships that came with taking daily turns: The little ones suffer from chronic whine syndrome and the big ones have acute cases of stealing turns from those who can't keep track. Both deadly in large families. This year, six candies per day. 

If only Isaac understood that we aren't eating the entire display this evening.    


  1. Oh. My. As always, you had me in tears and then laughing too hard to breathe. The "beastly carnage?" What, are you sitting at MY table? Because that's exactly how I would describe dinners here, Thorns and Roses or no. Poor, poor Isaac. Let me have him commiserate with Zeke. It's a rough life for these 2 year old guys.

    Our senses are good and holy. Powerful stuff. Catholicism moves me so much precisely because this crazy Church of ours just GETS humanity, from our most basic level on up through our desire to be united with divinity. To have a God who loves us enough to establish a Church like this... the Love sets my heart to aching and my eyes to weeping.

    Thanks for linking, R. I've been missing your posts lately. :)

  2. We too feel that lighting the candles adds a air of elegance to an otherwise bawdy display of dining! I just love Isaac's expression, it is as if to say "why can't I eat it all NOW'.
    Reading the Gospel is such a wonderful tradition, and one I bet the kids will remember.
    You know, I think your family is the best and I always love coming here and seeing what you guys are up to!!!

  3. Wow...I love your reflections on reading the Gospel. That is an awesome tradition....reading about Christ is a great way to bring us closer to him. And, smart Mom for doing six bags of candy to the Advent wreath!!

  4. I'm inspired by your tradition of reading the Gospel, and you are so right about developing their own relationship with Christ.
    My kids would not be able to handle the candy tree, I think it would be gone by the first week from sneakers.

  5. "What you don't like fun?" hahaha, love that. Sometimes we are too serious in HOW we plan our holiday preparations, and forget to actually ENJOY them! Your house sounds like the perfect mix!

  6. Always love visiting here with you, my friend...
    And great idea with the Advent calendar...we do the chocolate ones...some hoard and some pace themselves... : )

  7. Bonne Mamy (my mom) gives all the grandkids Advent Calendars with chocolate; so while they search for the number of the day and eat that piece of chocolate Mommy attempts an Advent prayer ~ will tuck your Gospel idea in my 'when the kids are a bit older' file.
    Lovely reflection!

  8. Wow, I always enjoy your posts, Rebekah, and come away richer.
    Touching and funny too.... Everyone who needs to learn about advent should READ YOUR POST. This says it all!
    Thanks for the memories!

  9. Poor little boy. Give him some sweets, mama!
    It doesnt bother me when my kids cry...but other sad faces melt my heart.

    looks like a great start to Advent!

  10. I love Issac's little sad face. I'm sure by now he's caught on he gets a little every day though right? :)

  11. My boys would be so like Isaac. I would definitely have had to do bags of 5, just to keep everyone happy (and everything "fair"!).

    This post was both inspiring and funny (as yours always are).


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