Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1st Day of Advent: Traditions

Because I want to remember out little family traditions I'll be sharing our little to-do's on the blog this Advent. 

I've been looking forward to Advent for many reasons this year, but mostly just looking forward to another season in the liturgical year that calls us to prepare, to wait on the Lord with joyful anticipation, and to prayer. These seasons are so good for my soul. The Church knows us and meets us where we need her most. She knows we all have seasons that we need to be called out of, seasons that make it hard to be present to the reality that Christ our Savior was born many a moon ago to Our beautiful Lady. That she journeyed on a donkey to birth her son and lay him in a humble manger.

There's just so much Truth and Goodness to soak up this season and I pray, with His Grace, that I am able to fully embrace all the joys of waiting and all the joys of the ultimate Gift so that I can share these fruits with my family.

On that note, I wanted to share five ways we celebrated the 1st day of Advent.

1. Celebrate Mass. I know this one is a no-brainer but there is something so very special when the Liturgy comes to life while praying the Mass. The vestments, the colors, the scripture readings all so amazing. Every single time. 
2. Light the candle of Hope and say the first Advent  prayer during dinner. The boys are at an age where they are pretty in awe of candles and they join us in  prayers. It's the sweetest and I love that we are able to start and share this with them now. 
3. Decorate our Christmas tree - Round 1. A year or so ago, my husband and I decided we wanted our tree to reflect our journey through Advent so we went on a hunt for purple and pink ornaments. Gee-whiz, was that tough! Apparently, purple is not all that common. Either way, we searched, purchased, and have our little collection that spreads through the weeks leading up to Christ's Birthday.
This is the first year these two "help" decorate the tree. To say tears were not involved would be false.
These boys were so overcome by joy and excitement, wonder and pride at being able to help decorate our beautiful big tree. So overcome there was no where else to go but a melt down or two..or three.
Meltdowns aside look at these faces. I'm glad I caught these shots at the start of our little decorating journey. There really is a light in their eyes. A light only He can share.
These little stinkers helped bring beauty to our home and, in turn, helped prepare our little home for the beautiful celebration that awaits us on Christmas Day.

Gosh, I kind of love our big tree a whole bunch! I have a ton of photos I took from our time at a fairly nearby Christmas Tree Farm that we went to this year on Saturday. I can't tell you how much I loved transitioning from Thanksgiving to Advent this year.
We were home so we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, then go to a tree farm for an adventure to pick out our tree on Saturday and have our home ready to celebrate the beginning of Advent. It was kind of magical.

4. Advent Prayer Chain. I got this idea from Debbie over at Saints 365. The boys and I made this prayer chain the week before Thanksgiving. Bigfoot helped me assign different prayer intentions for each day of Advent leading up to Christ's birth. I wrote them out with a date and since the first day of Advent we have been pulling off one chain a night and specifically praying for whatever listed intention is on that link. It's been fun, great, and I love the way we can pray for others as a family.
5. St. Anthony Christmas Novena. My husband and I have been praying this novena at night after the kids are in bed. We did it separately last night, but after just a couple days of praying this novena I can already see fruits from it. I'm so glad we are praying this together.

If you aren't familiar with this novena, it is a prayer that you pray daily (at one time or throughout the day) everyday up to Christmas. It's a prayer of petition and preparation. A prayer of Truth and adoration. If you haven't started, I encourage you to join in. I'm sure Our Lord and St. Anthony would meet you whereever you start! :)

Sarah over at Amongst Lovely Things describes it perfectly:
For those unfamiliar with the tradition: the St. Andrew Christmas prayer is said fifteen times per day from November 30th, the Feast of St. Andrew, until Christmas Day. It isn’t really a novena in the traditional sense, and it’s not even aimed toward St. Andrew. It’s a meditation on the incarnation, and it is a powerful way to prepare one’s heart for the birth of Christ. It has also been called the Christmas Anticipation Prayer.

She's written a lot on this beautiful prayer, so do head over to her site to read more. She's shared so beautifully on this prayer over the years and because of her, my husband and I are now praying it together.

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What Advent traditions do you have in your home? Leave a comment! Would love to learn more about how to embrace this season as a little family!

Also, I'll be sharing more as time carries on. I'm so excited to share about what we'll be doing for the Feast of St. Nicholas this year!

4 comments:

  1. All of your traditions are so beautiful! I love the prayer chain idea. My baby is still a little too small for any of these (although he too loves looking at candles) But I may just do a prayer chain for myself!

    I have been looking for more ways to enter into the season of Advent. We have our advent wreath and light the candles and say the prayers each week. I'm also doing to Blessed is She Advent journal this year. But apart from that we don't have a lot of advent traditions. I am now going to go look up the St Andrew novena because that sounds lovely! Thanks!

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    1. Anna! Thank you! We're learning as we go! So grateful for this online community that helps me grow in living liturgically with our little family! I am loving the Christmas novena just hate that I don't always say it (ie fall asleep before I get to it, or have a stay at home date night with the husband and we both forget!). Thankful He still hears our prayers!

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  2. I super love the tree. What a great idea!! I'm also praying the novena, for the second year. Here's to Christmas miracles! I'll lift your family up as I pray each day!

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    1. Thank you for praying for us, Gina! That means so much to me! Prayers are always needed :) Will keep you in our prayers too. There's just so much going on in life right now it seems for so many around me! Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! :)

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