AdventWell, my favorite liturgical season will soon be here. Yes, Advent! The other day on the phone my mom asked me if I had decorated our home for Christmas. She reminded me that it was my habit of decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I cringed when my mom reminded me of how ignorant I was about our Faith. For years, I completely overlooked the season of Advent.
The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking and we have therefore been robbed of much of the true meaning of this season.
During Advent we recall the history of God's people and reflect on how the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This gives us a background for the present. Today we can reflect on the past track record of God and so begin to understand what it means to us now for the sake of what is to come, in our own future and that of our world.
© Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Catholic Online
For a few years now, my family here in Hawaii and I have been observing and trying to get the most out of Advent as a way of rectifying our past ignorance.
There are many things we plan on doing starting on Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent:
1. Advent Candles and Wreath - Usually these two are combined. The Advent candles have already been bought and they were blessed yesterday. I hope to be able to obtain an evergreen wreath before Sunday. If not, we will make do without. Living in Hawaii makes it difficult to have the fresh pine branches available for the picking.
2. Advent Calendar - Our large wooden Advent Calendar with the little drawers is ready to be placed somewhere in the living room area. Usually, I write out little sacrifices and mortifications for each day of Advent. This year that duty has been delegated to our dear son and the whole family will be opening the little drawers this year. In the past, it was just him. Of course, I have a feeling that the treats that fill each drawer will still be my responsibility.
3. Nightly Rosary will continue as well as reading from the Magnificat Advent Companion. This has been a tradition since our parish has been good enough to provide these little treasures of a booklet for us each year.
4. A Family Retreat with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen - After the above rosary and readings, we will be sitting down to watch one of the lectures by Archbishop Sheen. The following is from the back of the DVD:
A Family Retreat: One of his best retreats, preached before a live audience in a church toward the end of Archbishop Sheen's active life. The church was filled with people of all ages; young children, teenagers, and their parents. In this moving presentation, the Archbishop speaks about topics that apply to everyone: Mass, Confession, Youth & Sex, the Devil, Making the Right Choice, Suffering, True Love, and many more..." We saw this at Pauline Books and Media on Saturday and we all agreed it would add to our Advent exercises.5. Empty Manger - Usually we remove the babe from our Nativity set. This year will remove the new babe we also purchases at the Daughters of St. Paul's Book store. It has the most angelic face I have seen on a baby Jesus in a long time!
6. St. Nicholas Day - My son and I will also be celebrating St. Nicholas' Day with friends from our old Catholic Homeschooling group.
7. Feast Days - Of course, there are special days like the one above but also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.
As you can see, we will be very busy this Advent Season. I just hope I remember to prepare for Christmas!
The following is a video I prepared for Advent. I hope you like.