Time for Preparation

Post Date: November 25, 2022
Author: Laura Stephens

Sale! Hot buy! Must have! Black Friday deals are aplenty today! What will you have under the Christmas tree?

Planning our shopping list is essential but let us not fail to give ourselves the gift of Advent preparation. As Christians, our focus during this time is on so much more than just snagging the best deals and saving money.

We must remember to prepare our souls for the most important gift of Christmas – the birth of Our Savior and Lord! Advent begins this coming Sunday, November 27 as we prepare for Christmas!

The more important something is the more we must allow ourselves preparation time. It increases awareness and brings its importance more clearly into our daily lives. There are so many rich Catholic Advent Traditions that can easily, but profoundly, prepare your family for the gift of Christmas.

How do you want your family to know Jesus better by this Christmas?

Maybe that question can better help you to choose what Advent Traditions you are most intentional about placing into your family’s Advent season.

Here are just a couple key Advent traditions that might help your family:

The Advent Wreath – focused prayers for preparation

This tradition is not just reserved for the Church but is a wonderful family tradition as you gather together at meals or prayer time during this Advent Season. There are four candles that are lit, a new one each new week of Advent to recall to us that Jesus is the Light of the World. There are specific prayers that are said during the lighting of the candles to engage us in prayers and reflection. The pink candle is specially reserved for the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, for its focus is on the joyful anticipation of Christmas coming so soon. The evergreen circle reminds us of the never ending, eternal love of God. There is often a final white candle that is light at Christmas time to honor Christ. For more details on the Advent Wreath, check out this previous blog post.

The Jesse Tree – focused stories of Jesus’ family

What better way to prepare for the birth of Jesus than to reflect on His family tree? It enables us to see His coming promise of redemption and to ponder the love of God for His family. Each day of Advent you reflect on a new Bible story and learn more about the family of Jesus. More resources regarding the Jesse Tree can be found at this other blog post.

Advent Calendar- focus on preparing our soul for Jesus’ coming on Christmas

Everyone loves a countdown to a special day! Most kids can tell you how far away it is to their next birthday. Give them a countdown to help them; and at the same time, work their souls in preparation. This wonderful Advent Calendar from Loyola Press has simple daily tasks that help them to focus less on what they want for Christmas and more on what they can give and how they can love better by Christmas.

Advent Penance Services- prepare with a cleaner soul

Whether it has been a while or not, Advent is a perfect time to clean out our souls from the sins we are holding on to. By allowing ourselves to receive the gift of Reconciliation, you will find it so much more meaningful and effective to celebrate Christ’s gift of life on Christmas day. Check out the bulletin or website for the 5 different dates and locations for Advent Penance Services this year.

First Living Nativity – actively engage by volunteering and/or attending

Come and experience the joy of Christmas on December 23 for the first ever Live Nativity. See what it would have been like on that glorious night. Volunteers are needed in many areas (actors, musicians, singers, hospitality, prayer team, evangelization, etc) so contact The99SH@gmail.com to help out. This could be an outreach for your whole family to get involved in while enabling others to experience.

Journey with Our Blessed Mother – ponder with Mary

During this Advent season there are two significant days set aside to honor Our Blessed Mother – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12). On both days join the parish at Mass as we celebrate and ponder the role of Our Blessed Mother in the story of salvation and in your own story. Spend time sitting with Mary as she said yes to Jesus and allowed this miracle of Christmas for the world. Ask her to increase your love for Jesus and show you how to better carry Jesus into the world.

Posadas Navideñas- walk with Mary and St. Joseph as they search for shelter

In this Advent ritual Mary and Joseph search for an inn upon arriving at Bethlehem. It occurs from December 16th to the 24th for nine days symbolizing the nine months that Mary carried Jesus in her womb. It also recalls how there continued to be no place for them during their search. There is a singing of a song between two groups – the pilgrims looking for the inn and the host. Though I personally cannot speak Spanish, I have attended Posadas celebration and loved the beauty of the Tradition.

May your family have a very blessed Advent season as you prepare to encounter the Savior in a new way this Christmas!

Author: Laura Stephens

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