Advent is a season of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. We anticipate the coming of Christ from three different perspectives: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in the glory at the end of time. The season of Advent offers us an opportunity to deepen our longing for Christ and to prepare for His coming.
Though it is not officially a penitential season, families often simplify their life and make extra sacrifices to prepare themselves for the feast of Christmas. Below you will find some ways that you can celebrate Advent with your family this year!
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ADVENT
This is a time honored tradition for Catholics! You can make an advent wreath or purchase one online. You can buy purple and pink candles or if you already have white candles, you can use those too!
Here is an article with more information about the Advent wreath:
Many parishes sell Advent wreaths or have a make-your-own event. You can go to Joann Fabrics to pick up candles locally.
All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, forever and ever.
God of power and mercy open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan. Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
This is a wonderful Catholic tradition that steps you through all of salvation history from Genesis to the birth of Christ. This can be a fun way to put ornaments up in December without having to pull out your whole Christmas tree early.
Starting December 1st, each day, you talk about another moment in salvation history and you add an ornament to a tree (or a magnet to a fridge, or felt circles on a felt tree etc.) up until December 25th!
Ashley loves the work from this Etsy provider:
Here is a neat magnet set you can use on your refrigerator:
Here is a no-sew pattern from Jessica at Shower of Roses:
The O Antiphons, also known as The great Os are Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers of the last seven days of Advent in Western Christian traditions. They are also used as the alleluia verses on the same days in the Catholic Mass.
O Sapientia: O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
O Adonai: O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
O Radix Jesse: O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
O Clavis David: O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
O Oriens: O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.
O Rex Gentium: O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
O Emmanuel: O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
PATRON SAINT FOR THE YEAR
Since Advent marks the new year for Catholics, it’s a fun tradition to choose a patron saint for each person in your family for the year. We put dozens of saint names in a bag and each person picks one out. Then we choose a patron saint for the family as well. You can celebrate this saint’s feast day when it comes up. Kids love this tradition!
Below is a PDF document with over 150 saints. It is designed to be printed on Avery 8293 which features 1.5″ circle labels. This way you can peel off the stickers and put them on poker chips to make them sturdier! You can also simply print it on cardstock and cut them out!
Click the PDF file on the left to download the saint names! Or you can visit http://saintsnamegenerator.com/ if you want a website to choose a name for you!
ST. PHILIP'S FAST
The Nativity Fast, or St. Philip’s fast, is a period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox church. It’s like a “little Lent” to prepare for Christmas. The strictest form of the fast is to abstain from red meat, poultry, meat products, eggs, dairy, fish, oil and wine. Whew! It’s intense. The Eastern Orthodox does thier fast from November 15th through December 24th.
Now, while that may be too much for some families to take on, you can choose to give up a few things to prepare your heart for the coming of Christ. It could simply be sugar or alcohol. Alternatively, you could give up something that distracts you from growing closer to Jesus like romance novels, social media, television, eating out, online shopping, etc.
Here is an in depth article on St. Philip’s Fast: http://www.byzcath.org/index.php/faith-mainmenu-38/40-fasts-a-feasts/2019-philips-fast-advent