We have a range of family focused, faith-centered activities to help parents and their children learn about the symbolism of the Advent season and delve deeper into what our preparation for Christ's birth means to them. Check out our resources here.
FirstWeek of Advent
Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming. . .
-- From this week’s Sunday Gospel: Mark 13:33-37
This week’s theme is a call to consciousness and attentiveness. Life can be so full that we don’t reflect on our daily activities, experiences, relationships, or reactions. Advent is time earmarked for pausing. Difficult when Christmas preparations are ramping up, but what is Christmas about? Presents, concerts, having the house perfect - or preparing our hearts to celebrate the coming of Jesus? How does he come to us? How will we know he’s come to us? Let’s take this week to . . . reflect.
Start this first week talking about the symbolism of the wreath and blessing it. Light one purple candle and say, “Jesus, you are the Light of the World.” Everyone responds, “Let your light shine upon all your people.” After each day’s conversation, pray the prayer at the bottom of the page together and sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
Sunday, Nov. 29
What is Advent? (It is a time of preparing for Christmas. It comes from a word that means “coming.”) When we know someone is coming, how do we prepare? For whose coming are we preparing?
Monday, Nov. 30
How does our culture prepare for Christmas? (Ads, stores, schools, pop music and movies) Is this about preparing for Jesus’ coming? What would help us prepare for Jesus’ coming? Compare/contrast. After the prayer (see below), add: St. Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Tuesday, Dec. 1
What does it mean that Jesus is coming at Christmas? He was born in Bethlehem a long time ago, so why are we preparing now? (Remembering Jesus’s birth at Christmas somehow makes it present again.)
Wednesday, Dec. 2
Does Jesus come to us on other days, not just Christmas? When? How? (In other people, Scripture, a feeling of closeness in our hearts, a thought, Communion, etc.) How can we be more aware of this?
Thursday, Dec. 3
How has Jesus come to you today? If Jesus comes to us every day, how does that change how we work, play, treat each other, etc.? After the prayer, add: St. Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Friday, Dec. 4
As Catholics we believe Jesus will come again – at the end of our own lives, but also at the end of the world. How does this make you feel? Why? How does Advent help us prepare for this coming?
Saturday, Dec. 5
What do you think could help our family build the habit of reflecting more, of being more aware of Jesus’ coming to us each day – even after Advent? Are you putting your shoes out for St. Nick’s tomorrow?
Week 1 Prayer
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to us. Please help us to be reflective and watching for you in our lives each day, especially as we prepare for Christmas. Amen.
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O IsraelO come, O come, Thou Lord of Might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud, and majesty and awe. (Refrain)