Advent is here! Amid the festivities, extra events, and celebrations, many of us might wish we had more time to savor the preparation, the joy, and the peace that comes with living the birth of Jesus Christ! The liturgy of Advent takes us through the journey of the life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It allows us to contemplate the beautiful mystery that God chose for his son to be born of the Virgin Mary and that she freely said, “thy will be done!” since then, salvation history has been transformed forever. Since then, hearts and minds have been transformed forever. Below you'll find some resources to help yourself and your children live Advent well.
What is Advent exactly?
Advent is a liturgical time that the Church gives us to prepare for the coming of Jesus. It is a time of preparation, a time to dive deeper into this mystery and relish the beginnings of Jesus’ life. It extends over four Sunday’s leading up to Christmas and is just bountiful in graces waiting for us to receive. It is a time to open ourselves up further to Jesus and allow him to enter into our hearts in a more profound and reverent way than before.
As time comes and goes our hearts can grow cold and what the Church aims to do is to help our hearts break out of that routine and focus on the most important mysteries. The birth of Jesus Christ is a profound truth our lives should be centered around. It is easy to become distracted and forget about Jesus and that is why this season is a time to live in deeper prayer, reflections, and acts of charity.
Minimizing Distractions to Focus on What Really Matters:
The enemies of living advent well are distractions! Distractions come from our interior disposition, and interruptions come from our external atmosphere. The best way to focus is to minimize external noise as much as possible and practice being mindful so that our interior noise can settle down. I found that it is helpful to understand human psychology and recognize that our brain just wants to remind us of many things, but all we have to say to it is ‘thank you, brain, now focus on Jesus’, however many times it goes off on a tangent or thought!
Making an effort to minimize distractions can be prayer itself! As soon as your internal distractions settle down, if it ever does, it is good to open your heart and soul to what the holy spirit wants to inspire in you. It is good to allow yourself to be set on fire without barriers and cast away any fear that stops you from flourishing into the person God has created for you to be!
Ways We Can Live Advent Well in the Family:
Be creative and find ways to prepare and remember the coming of Jesus. Each family has a way of putting a fun twist on Advent or Christmas traditions but here are a few ideas to help start your creativity!
Make the Advent wreath together.
Each Sunday, light the Advent wreath together, read a reflection, and sing Christmas Carols together that remind us of the meaning of Advent.
Set up the Nativity Scene together as a family.
Decorate the house with Christmas decorations together.
Bake Christmas-themed desserts that teach or highlight an important aspect of Advent or Christmas with your young ones.
Pray the family Rosary, maybe especially contemplating the Joyful mysteries.
Go to Church together on Sunday and use the carride to and from to discuss the readings of the day.
Read together the New Testament passages about the birth of Christ.
Give to those in need - whether that's through your family's time, talents, or money.
Prepare 'gifts' for the Christ child.