Sunday, November 29, 2015

Let the Advent-ures Begin!


Happy first day of Advent, friends! I hope you all had a restful Thanksgiving weekend filled with joy!

For those of you who haven't heard of Advent, in the Catholic Church it marks a season of waiting - waiting for Christ to come. (It is also celebrated in other Christian traditions, but I am not sure if all of the symbolism matches across the board, so I will only directly be speaking to the Catholic tradition. I'd love to learn more if any of y'all care to share!)

Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30) and lasts for four Sundays. During Advent, we prepare ourselves for the arrival of our Savior on Christmas.  

As I mentioned in my recent post about Thankfulness, I am hoping to be more intentional about my personal preparation during this liturgical season this year. And in case any of you are interested in different ways to embrace a more intentional Advent this time around, I wanted to share some of the methods I am partaking in.

1.) Make an Advent wreath! 


Guys, I have to be honest with you. I am not a huge fan of the way most advent wreaths look. I love the giant ones in our churches (if I had the space, I would be all over that), but I am not too fond of the smaller ones you usually see in homes. 

I know, I know, it shouldn't matter what it looks like, it is about the meaning and prayer behind the wreath. But I also know that I am less likely to a) take the time to make one and b) put it on display if I am not crazy about the aesthetics. 

And so, I decided to create my own take on an Advent wreath this year and am loving how it turned out!


Supplies: 

  • 4 white candles (mine are 2in x 2.3 in) - you could also get 3 solid purple and 1 pink
  • Purple ribbon and pink ribbon (The spools of polka-dotted were a lot cheaper than the solid, so I simply used the back side.)
  • Some greenery (it is a wreath after all... sort of) - I bought 3 seasonal floral pick decorations from Michaels. You could do more. You could do less. You could get an actual wreath..
  • Tape
  • Scissors

All you have to do is cut the ribbon to fit around each candle (3 purple, 1 pink) and tape it down. Then arrange them how you like with your greens and voila! You have yourself an Advent wreath that you can light during your prayer time. Nothing fancy. I placed mine on top of my bookshelf.

Read more about the tradition and symbolism behind the Advent wreath, including the colors, here

2.) Pray

Speaking of prayer time, I am also intending to practice a more structured daily prayer. In order to help keep me on track with this, I have signed up for (way too many) daily devotionals centered around Advent delivered straight to my email. 

"Advent Moments of Mercy" with Loyola Press
"Best Advent Ever" with Dynamic Catholic
"Advent Reflections" with uCatholic

I'm also receiving devotionals from a young adult group I am involved with as well as my usual Blessed Is She daily devotions.

In my experience, some daily devotionals speak more to my soul than others, so I anticipate dropping down to one or two main ones by the time Christmas rolls around. We shall see.

3.) Reconciliation

You know, that sacrament that I dread receiving but then feel overcome with grace after being absolved and cleansed? Yeah, that one. What a perfect way to prepare for the coming of Christ!

4.) The St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Truth: I've never actually done a novena before, so I am super excited to begin my first one tomorrow. Find out more information here


There are many other ways that you can intentional partake in Advent this season. 

If you haven't been to church in a while, maybe this year your preparation will be going to mass each Sunday of Advent. That's a huge step!

If you have children (or even not), an Advent calendar is a fun way to countdown to the birth of Jesus.

You can also separate the baby Jesus figurine from your manger scene until Christmas day as part of your Advent prep. 

No matter what you choose, let us join in preparation as we await the coming of our Savior.

What are some of the ways you celebrate Advent?

Peace,
Sarah

10 comments:

  1. I am not Catholic, but last year I feel in love with the concept of Advent. I think it is a beautiful and worthy celebration. I like your idea of the wreath and lighting it during prayer time. I am going to try that too! Thanks!

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    1. Advent is my favorite, Nathana. It's such a great way to keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas when we can get swept up in all of the decor and gifts. Let me know if you try the wreath. I'd love to hear how it goes for you.
      Peace, Sarah

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  2. I love how you wrapped ribbons around the candles! I love celebrating the real reason for the season!

    Jadoregrace

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    1. Thanks Grace! I thought about getting the correct colored candles, but there weren't any so I went with ribbons and really like the way they came together. Thanks for reading.
      Peace, Sarah

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  3. I have never celebrated advent, but I celebrate lint many years and I think advent is a great idea!!

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    1. We sometimes refer to Advent as a mini Lent. Just another beautiful way to prepare ourselves to receive Christ :) Thanks for reading, Autumn!
      Peace, Sarah

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  4. I'm stopping over from The Peony Project! I also wrote a post on Advent, so I was curious to see how other people are celebrating it. (http://scrapingraisins.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-anticipation-of-advent.html) Thanks for the added resources. I'm not Catholic, but I am finding the need for a bit more structure when it comes to staying focused on Christ this season. And my kids seem to be loving it as well! Blessings on you this season:-)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Leslie! I'm definitely going to look at your post as well! What have you been doing with your kids this season? Blessings to you as well!
      Peace, Sarah

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  5. Haha I don't know why I never thought of making my OWN Advent wreath, because I totally agree - the 'typical' ones are kinda ugly! HAHA This is a great idea that I think I'll steal - thanks so much for sharing!!

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like the traditional wreath! Please let me know if you make your own. I'd love to see it/hear how it goes!
      Peace, Sarah

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