Monday, December 2, 2013

An Advent Update

This post is part of the Keep Christ in Christmas Blog Link-Up
hosted by the Catholic Bloggers Network!

Now that Eastern Catholics are nearly halfway through Advent (aka the Philip's Fast - which started 11/15), it is time to update how our family is doing celebrating Advent.

I think it is important to point out the following about the purpose of Advent:

This is what I got (from the CCC) Advent...

makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. Check out 522-524 for more deets : ) 

Advent is about preparing our hearts, minds, homes for the birth of Christ. 

It is the getting ready period. The world did not rejoice before the Nativity of the Son of God; it rejoiced when it happened which is why we won't light our tree until December 25. The world was in darkness before the Son of God came so our house will remain dark and we will celebrate on the feast and in the days and weeks after (as opposed to the days and weeks before : ) 

The plan was this:

Week One - Operation Christmas Child - which was a success for our 3.5 yr old and 22 month old.

E and R and their boxes

Week Two - Pray at a Graveyard - this got switched for another week because Papa picked up this bag at the Roman Catholic parish in the Mount...

He and the girls went shopping last week while I was at work and after repeatedly reminding him I needed pictures for the blog... He forgot. : ) He and E still have to drop the food off at church so maybe I'll see some pictures from that

Week Three (this week) - We are collecting things for St. Nicholas to take (toys/clothes/books) so he can bring those to other people who need them (aka CPO or somewhere like that) and bring us new things. He's coming to our house Thursday night and E is super excited... Mostly about the candy. I'll do a post dedicated to St. Nicholas after he comes

Week Four/Five/Six - We have a few options and idea left. Pray outside an abortion clinic, Pray at a graveyard, Get an ornament (or two) off the tree at the church there in the Mount, Go shopping and drop off food items at the InterFaith Food Shuttle

Our singing of O Come Emmanuel in the morning after our prayer time is going well. E is more interested in holding the paper the music is on but she was singing parts of it at church yesterday. 

It is definitely a work in progress fine tuning the best way to explain Advent to young ones for sure. I think we are getting somewhere though because E keeps asking:

"Why do those people have their Christmas trees up because it is Advent time..."

Here's some other blogs about Keeping Christ in Christmas... Enjoy!

Em’s Estuary: Keeping Christ in Christmas O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Home to 4 Kiddos        Keep Christ in Christmas
Embedded Faith          Boldly Be the Christ in Christmas
Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats
Training Happy Hearts            10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
Our ABC Life:  An Advent Update
Catholic Inspired: Faith-Centered Family Christmas
A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas
Catholic All Year: Three Reasons I love Advent
Mary the Defender: Christmas The Battle Begins
Truly Rich Mom: Keep Christ in Christmas
Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Mrs Domestic Bliss     Gingerbread Nativity
The Chic Traveller      Keeping Christ in Christmas
California to Korea     Keeping Christ in Christmas
…and if you’d like more Catholic blogs to visit:
Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas
Coffee Moments with Sam     The Light of Hope
Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas
Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual
On the Way Home:  Keep Christ in Christmas
Sue Elvis Writes: Bring Christ to Others
Mommy Bares All       Why Celebrate Christmas Even After #YolandaPH
Canadian Catholic Mom         Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling   Keep Christ in Christmas


  1. I <3 Advent, and I quite like your explanation of Advent as the "Getting ready" period. So cute that your daughter is asking why people have their Christmas trees up! I definitely remember being corrected by my grandmother a few times for referring to December as the "Christmas season" (and pretty sure I was in my 20s when it happened!).

    1. I don't think the girls quite understand the 'getting ready' part yet... Getting ready is very hard visually other than we don't put our tree up : )

  2. I love it when the little ones start noticing things - like a tree put up too early - it shows that they are learning and discerning.

    1. Young children can pick up on alot more than I think most people will give them credit for!

  3. You have a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing them and your advent with us. Cyndi (

  4. Fantastic Post.

  5. Oh I like the idea of St Nicholas coming to collect things other people need. That really emphasises the giving aspect of Advent. And praying at a cemetery is an act of charity.

    Your girls are beautiful!

    I hope your Advent is very blessed!

    PS I enjoyed reading about your family on your 'About Us' page.

    1. Thanks!

      We did not 'do' St. Nicholas growing up so I kind of started by winging it a few years ago. I think I really solidified some 'traditions' of St. Nicholas this year that will start to stick with E.

  6. Love the quote from E. Our son says similar things.

  7. I really want to encourage you to pray at the graveyard. I did on All Souls Day and it was a tremendously enriching experience. Remember to really make Sundays special also during Advent. Sundays are always a time to spend together but even more in Advent as the candles on the Advent wreath are lit. We also read some of the prophecies of Isaiah at that time.

    1. We actually prayed at two graveyards a few days ago as our fourth week activity! It definitely made me realize how simple it is and how we could totally make time to do it at least once a month!

  8. They are just so precious at this age! I have a 4 year old son, and a 2 year old daughter. My son also keeps question people who have their lights on and decorations up (much to early for my liking) "Mommy, it isn't even Christmas yet, why is their house so decorated?"!

    Great job taking the kids to help purchased the food to give to charity. We still need to do something like this for our local St. Vincent de Paul!

    1. It was super cute taking E shopping for the shoeboxes! She was definitely picking out things she would have liked to receive but I kept trying to remind her to focus on the kids who would not being receiving a present! That was a bit of a challenge

  9. I agree their is too much celebrating before Christmas...and so little afterward. It does seem backwards.

  10. hmmm...I'm going to need to read up about the Philip's Fast on 11/15! Fascinated with the Eastern Catholics! Does that make your Advent as long as Lent?

    1. Eastern Catholic Lent starts the Monday of the week of Ash Wednesday. So I think the Advent and Lent fasts are about the same amounts of time - Lent might be a week longer. I like the Lenten fast because Sunday before is called CheeseFare and the Sunday before that is MeatFare. Basically the fasting starts with no meat starting that Monday after MeatFare. Everyone brings super meaty dishes for MeatFare Sunday because people (who choose to keep a strict fast) don't eat meat until Pascha (Easter). Same with CheeseFare Sunday, everyone brings super cheesy/eggy/dairy filled dishes because those keeping a strict fast will not eat any animal products until Pascha. (Most people don't keep a strict fast throughout Lent - some people do M/W/F no meat/ no dairy etc)

  11. They look so cute and happy with their presents!

  12. My children, too, have been asking why people are ALREADY celebrating Christmas instead of preparing hearts and homes for it. :)

    1. It is crazy! As soon as Halloween is over... everything Christmas rolls out!

  13. Such great ideas. We did shoeboxes, too. The girls had a blast!

    1. Shoeboxes are a great way for kids to see things they want and realize that someone else who has much less will get it!

  14. I love the idea about finding items "for St. Nicholas to take."

    I really admire your ability to wait until Christmas to light the tree. Over the past few years, I've started decorating later and later, as I've been growing in an understanding of Advent and the appropriate way to celebrate. But I've still been unable to hold out until the end -- maybe this year!! My three-year-old has noted Christmas trees up in all the stores, and made similar comments about how it's silly because it's not Christmas time yet :-)

    1. I upside of waiting to get/light the tree is we usually get a fantastic deal on a tree at the Farmers Market the Sunday before Christmas! : )