Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Preparing A Catholic Advent

Now that Advent is all around us, many of us are busy preparing our hearts and homes for this special time of year.    
Not only am I always seeking to simplify things and not have it be a stressful time, it's always my heart's desire to bring out the sacred to counter the secular...To bring our faith into all we do.  Here some little ways to prepare for a Catholic Advent...
It's a few random sharings, using the basic premise of our faith...Aiming to know, love, serve God and one another!

Know and Love God...
 Bring out the Advent wreath and print out the nightly prayers ahead of time.  There are many free sources.  Family in Feast and Feria shares some beautiful Advent printables.  This year, I'm supporting a new booklet, O Radiant Dawn, by Catholic author, Lisa Hendey.  I think it's a whopping $1.50.

Many faithful folks use the rhythm of the liturgical cycle to renew their commitment to prayer life.  I know that I sure do!  There are a few novenas this time of year but my favorite has already started, the Immaculate Conception Novena.
I can't say enough about the Magnificat Year of Faith Companion guide...I absolutely love it!  If you haven't picked it up, it's worth every penny:) It's a beautiful compilation of short mediations written by different spiritual authors.  I'm sticking with this instead of the Advent Companion this year.  Here are my other personal picks this year for 
Advent Devotional Reading:
Magnificat
Magnificat Year of Faith Companion
I noticed they also have a Kindle addition!
The Little Way of Advent
My husband is reading:
Exploring Advent With Luke

Consider giving Godparents (or other special people) a little early present by giving Advent spiritual reading, coupled with this holy popcorn made by Benedictine Nuns! (Plus it gets some Christmas shopping and gift-giving done early:)
This is a small gift bag of Chocolate Peppermint Patty Popcorn, it is the perfect gift size, and it's only $4.00! I might add that this company is extremely efficient and my order was sent [almost] as fast as Amazon;)

Consider doing a mini-Advent retreat with your family during Advent, committing to daily family prayer, and a focus on the true reason for the season.  Many families read books together.  We have many favorite picture books that we don't always get through! But we do our best each year...

A family need not make a purchase to bring more prayer into the home. I absolutely adore the free prayer resources at this Praying Advent site!  It's chock-full of good stuff...Hallelujah!

A Jesse Tree Study?
This could also serve as a family Advent retreat...We are giving it a try!

This year, we are using this Jesse Tree Study Guide offered by Sanctus Simplicitus, thanks to Lena at Joyfilled Family, who offered the tip:)  It looks like a detailed study of the geneology of Christ with prayers and discussion suggestions. I am looking forward to this enhancement to our Advent home schooling days!   Sanctus Simplicitus also has some other wonderful resources at their blog!

There are 2 other family Advent books (Designed to read aloud together~One chapter per night) that we love!
1-The series by Arnold Ytreeide (Jotham's Journey) and
2-Destination: Bethlehem


Two-thumbs up for these Christmas cards...
I finally found some Catholic Christmas photo cards!  (Also fairly reasonable in price:)  They are offered by Printery House.  The prices were right too...Some as low as .85!

December 6th~This year, I am keeping the feast of St. Nicholas shoe gifts simple...chocolate coins and candy rosaries!  Real Life Rosary makes these for $3.99 and they are offering to put your children's names on the labels for St. Nicholas day or stocking stuffers.

Serve God and One Another
Service?
There are so many ways to serve throughout Advent and Christmas.  To me, the goal is to continue to serve beyond the season! 
Sometimes the little things we do can be positively habit forming.  I stumbled upon this site that sends a daily e-mail with a kindness act to perform for each day of Advent. Giving it a whirl;) It's called Advent Acts of Kindness.  This will also help cushion our manger for baby Jesus!

One other idea...Our family collects alluminum cans and bottles for the whole year.  As a family, we turn them all in during Advent and give the money to a child or family in need through our church or community.  Last year, we were able to donate a generous amount from all we had saved:)

Gifts?
It's better to give than receive.
I'm trying to buy more faith-based gifts this year.
Did you know the Miraculous Medal Shrine has a gift shop?  I don't want to give any gifts away  (some of my friends might find out what gifts I bought for them;)...So let's just say I love their jewelery:)  The gift shop also offers to personalize Christmas Mass cards, also one of the best gifts to give!

The Marian's of the Immaculate Conception also have a sweet little gift store.  These cute little guys are only $4.00:)
 And this beautiful antique holy family necklace, a mere $9.95! 

Have you heard of the Immaculate Waters natural soap and lotion products made with Lourdes Water?  They are a little pricey but I love them and they make great gifts:) You can find them at The Catholic Company or Monastery Greetings.

Catholic Embroidery also offers some unique items and they were another extremely prompt and efficient business, getting the order out immediately. I bought the cutest book bags for my girls.  I just love to promote quality faith-based companies that are customer-service oriented and this is one of them!

Well, I think that's about it for a few random sharings:) I'll leave off by sharing a lovely Advent prayer.  Wishing you all a peaceful and joyful Advent season, through knowing, loving, serving God and one another! 

Dear Jesus: I look forward to Sunday and this new season. But all around me are the signs rushing me to Christmas and some kind of celebration that equates spending with love.
I need your help. I want to slow my world down. This year, more than ever, I need Advent, these weeks of reflection and longing for hope in the darkness.
Jesus, this year, help me to have that longing. Help me to feel it in my heart and be aware of the hunger and thirst in my own soul. Deep down, I know there is something missing in my life, but I can’t quite reach for it. I can’t get what is missing.
I know it is about you, Jesus. You are not missing from my life, but I might be missing the awareness of all of the places you are present there.
Be with me, my dear friend. Guide me in these weeks to what you want to show me this Advent. Help me to be vulnerable enough to ask you to lead me to the place of my own weakness, the very place where I will find you the most deeply embedded in my heart, loving me without limits. Amen.


11 comments:

  1. Tiffany--you did such a good job on these links!! I bookmarked a couple, loved that candy rosary!! Fun stocking stuffer--too late for ST Nicholas day...And that jewelry, beautiful (the non candy stuff) Thanks for all the links!

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    1. I'm glad some of these are helpful to others! Thanks, Jamie:)

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  2. Tiffany! Thank you for stopping over and for the sweet comment you left. :) I hope you and your family have a joyful & blessed Advent too.

    This post is wonderful and I love all the links!! I'm most excited about the Immaculate Waters soap & lotion, I might have to get one for my son's godmother. I really like your idea of buying more faith based gifts, and I LOVE that necklace! It's beautiful. I might have to drop a few hints to my husband this week. ;)

    Once I get my Advent post up I'm going to link back here! Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks, Jessica...Advent blessings!:)

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  3. thank you Tiffany for all these resources. so many of them i don't know. i'm clicking away!! those Christmas cards all ready to add a personal photo are great. it's so hard to find photo cards that say Merry Christmas on them instead of happy holidays or seasons greetings !

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  4. Thank you for the heads up on all of these. I have used Printery House before and was quite satisfied!

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  5. great roundup of ideas! I don't have to do much shopping this year and for that I'm very thankful :)

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  6. Your prayer is so beautiful; it really spoke to my heart. Thank you for sharing it!

    Advent blessings.

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    1. You are so welcome! It spoke to me too:)

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  7. Come, Lord Jesus! Advent blessings to you all and thanks for stopping by:)

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  8. Advent blessing to you and your family too, Tiffany!

    We are using the new Jesse Tree Study guide and it is beautiful! A perfect addition as our children get older.

    I enjoyed seeing all of your suggestions! Great post!!

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