Friday, December 3, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year

    It is a great time to be Catholic.  Here we are, having just celebrated the feast of Christ the King and the beginning of the new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent.  Now we can look forward with anticipation to next week when we will remember the generosity of St. Nicholas with gifts in our shoes, honor Mary on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and continue our preparations for Christmas, which is only weeks away. 
    In our house we are enjoying our nightly Advent prayer service.  After dinner we dim the lights and light the first purple candle on our Advent wreath.  This year, for the first time, we bought some incense sticks from Wal-Mart and are including that with our prayer time also.  The quiet room, with the children’s faces glowing and their eyes sparkling in the flickering candlelight, is bathed in peacefulness as we watch the smoke of the incense curling up towards heaven and smell the scent of Church at our own kitchen table.  We listen to a beautiful rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and pray our Advent prayers followed by the Divine Praises.  The children take turns leading the prayers.  This time truly feels reverent and sacred as we pray together as a family.   Of course, as soon as prayers are over the children all argue over who is going to blow out the candle but at least we have a few moments of peace and prayer each evening. 
    Our school projects reflect the season and this joyful time of waiting too.  We started our Jesse tree this week.  It sits in the middle of our school table and creates quite a focal point, reminding us what we need to focus on as we spend time studying the “family” tree of Jesus and the history of salvation leading up to His birth.  Each day this week we have started our school days with the Jesse Tree scripture passage of the day and the corresponding ornament for the tree.  The kids love coloring the ornaments and hanging them on the tree and it gives us a little something special to look forward to as we continue to school through these first few weeks of December. 
    This weekend we will put up our Christmas tree and all our decorations, including our beloved nativities.  We have been collecting nativities for years now, giving the kids a new one to open every Christmas Eve.  We are up to about 20 beautiful crèches and my goal is to have them everywhere you look in my house at Christmas time.  Considering my house is not that big we are almost there.  Even without our decorations adorning the house, I find myself with little glimmers of that magical Christmas feeling in my heart. Still, I am very eagerly anticipating being surrounded by our scenes of Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds and wise men all waiting in the stable for baby Jesus to arrive. 
    What joy this season provides.  It is truly a time of preparation and anticipation in our Church and in our home.  And the miracle of God’s love is all around us.  This would be the perfect time of year if only I could feel some love and peace while standing in endless lines at the store…

1 comment:

  1. oh the lines, the lines. Online shops helps a bit, but we can';t avoid the mall altogether. Blessed Advent. we'll be putting up our tree and decorations this weekend. I collected nativity scenes for sebveral years, then started gifting some of them to family. I still have so many. and always love to bring them out and recall memories about them.



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