5 Ideas for Advent

Can  you believe that Advent begins on Sunday, November 27?? That is only 2 1/2 weeks away! That’s not a lot of time to think about how you want prepare spiritually for Christmas.

In the past, I would get so caught up with the material preparations of Christmas that I would get overwhelmed and lose focus on the the meaning of Christmas. I would get stressed, lose sleep, and generally just wish that the whole season would be done and over. (Sound familiar?)

Image by geralt (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by geralt (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Then, a couple of years ago, I decided it was time to take stock and make some decisions to help me focus on the purpose of Advent which, of course, is to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The changes made a huge difference for me and so I will follow the same plan.

Now, for me, preparing for Advent (or Lent) isn’t necessarily about adding more things to my schedule. It is about making the most of my current schedule…So here are the 5 things I plan to do this year:

I. Take Care of Most of the Material things early.

Yes, I am one of those ober-organized people who like to do things in advance. 🙂 For Instance, I already have my shopping list and my card list written. I also hope to have my cards ready to send out by the time Advent starts and some of the gifts purchased. If all goes well, I should be done with all my Christmas shopping before the second week of Advent!

As for baking, I plan to do some baking early and freeze it all. Most baking goods, especially cookies, freeze really well. However, for some items, I will have to wait to last-minute so they are baked fresh. 🙂

II. Go to Daily Mass Twice a Week.

In the past, I would commit to go to daily mass and fail every year. It just isn’t realistic for this time in my life. Therefore, for this year, I am going to commit to going to daily Mass twice a week. That is definitely doable.

III. Fast Twice a Week.

Fasting isn’t just for Lent! Technically, Advent is a penitential season and this was especially true pre-Vatican II. In fact, the Church still encourages us to fast regularly all throughout the year even though it is not an official precept of the Church.

There are many benefits of fasting and I have wanted to get into this practice for a while. Therefore, I figure Advent would be a great time to finally get started. I will be fasting Wednesdays and Fridays.

IV. Use an Advent Calendar and Advent Wreathe.

Of course, the Advent Calendar and Advent Wreathe are perfect activities to do with children. I will do the Advent Calendar with Andrew each morning and light the Advent Wreathe candle during each meal as a family.

V. Journal.

If you know me, you know writing is in my blood and I journal regularly. In fact, that is one of the reasons I started creating journals in the first place. It may sound crazy but having my own little space to write out my thoughts, dreams, and struggles is important to my spiritual welfare. Writing is my preferred way of communication and it is how I best “talk” to God. Can you relate or is it just me?!

Last year, I created an Advent journal but it was too late to actually use for the Advent season. So, for this year, I will actually be using the journal I created. What I like most about the journal is that it is simple and has a lot of lines and writing space. Each page has a scripture verse that (sometimes loosely) correlates to the daily Mass readings and then lines for writing. It is not a guided journal but some days I will use the scripture as a starting point for prayer and some days I will just write for the heart. It also includes blank pages for drawing and/or pasting and has a section for prayer requests.

If you are interested, you can find more about the journal and purchase it here. Also, for a limited time, I am offering the PDF version of the journal for only $5 bucks! It is regularly $10 so it is half-price but it won’t last long. The sale ends on Friday, December 2, 2016.

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For more ideas for Advent, here are 10 Ways to Make Advent Meaningful and an Advent Meditation.

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Tweetable: 5 Ideas for Advent

Advent Prayer Journal for Women Cover

Advent Meditation

(Reposting this lovely meditation. It is a lovely way to start of the Advent season.

O Come, O come, Emmanuel…

As we travel along our Advent journey, please know that I will be praying for each and every one of you. I pray that this Advent season is a fruitful one and that you are filled with many graces and blessings and grow ever closer to our Lord.

An Advent Meditation (a little over 8 minutes, but very beautiful):

(Posted to Free Spirit Haven and The Kennedy Adventures!)

Advent Meditation, Week Four: Come Lord Jesus!

Advent Wreath

You can check out week one, week two and week three if you missed them before and here is the final snippet from Anne’s Advent Meditations:

“At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word,“ (cf. Lk 1: 28-38; Rom 1:5).

Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with Him and dependent on Him, by God’s grace:

As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”

Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert . . .: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary…” read more.

Advent Meditation, Week Three: Continuing Mary’s Journey

Advent Wreath

If you missed them week one and two can be found here and here.

Here’s a snippet of this week’s Advent Meditation that you can find over at Living in the Two Hearts:

“In other words, Mary participated with the sufferings that would be her Son’s, joining herself to the redemptive graces of her Son just as Paul would do long after Christ’s ascension into heaven. At the same time, we can say in all honesty, Mary’s Son followed in her footsteps as He went through the 40 days in the desert and then the complete abandonment in the garden at Gethsemane. What did Jesus do, what were is responses? Did He react in the similar way that Mary did? If so, couldn’t that suggest His mother’s instruction in prayer was definite?”

Advent Meditation, Week Two: Mission of Mary

Advent Wreath

In this week’s Advent Meditation, my friend Anne is expounding on the life and mission of Mary, the Blessed Mother. Here’s a snippet:

“What Mary does, who Mary is, how Mary is obedient and LOVES God is the model for us, the the REAL HUMAN EXAMPLE of how we can LOVE God, be OBEDIENT to God, LISTEN to God and accept His commands…just as her Son would ALSO DO during His lifetime on earth.

Did Christ endure trials during His life, or was it all a ‘bed of roses’? Did Satan try to tempt Christ or did he just leave the Son of God alone? Did Jesus come to live among His creation because He LOVES us or…not?

 He IS God and He IS man, and because His mother said, ‘YES’, to God’s plan we are redeemed. Her participation LEAD TO our REDEMPTION!”

You can read the rest here

(photo credit)

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (December 5,2010)

Here’s my contributions for this week’s Sunday Snippets:

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

My brother, the Pizza Man!

Loving Mother of the Redeemer

Since I missed last week’s Sunday Snippets, here’s a couple of posts from the previous week:

My Mother-in-law’s cheese cake

Advent Meditation