Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Traditions 2014

Christmas is just around the corner. Love love love it!

A few years ago I had one profound realization.
I was totally missing the whole point of Christmas!?!
It wasn't something I was consciously doing. 
It was just how things were.

Christmas is a time of caring and sharing.
Christmas is about family and friends.
Christmas is a time of merry making and good cheer.
Christmas is when I take a well deserved break.
Christmas is about Santa and the gifts on the sleigh.
Christmas is about the elf on the shelf.
And the list goes on and on

Don't get me wrong. Christmas is a season of celebration.
And, enjoy it we should!
Decorate your home
Cook up a feast 
Dress up for fun
Meet up with family and friends
Donate to others
But let's remember first and foremost,
Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ.

The 30th of November marks the 1st week of Advent.
Advent is a period of four weeks leading up to Christmas.
It's four weeks of preparing one's heart for the coming 
of the Lord.

I was hoping to have a nice and pretty Jesse Tree this year.
But let's not kid ourselves, I do not have time for extra prep work.
And to top it off our trusty printer seems to have conked out. Ugh!
I found a strip of craft paper and a broken toy part in the printer.
Hurray! Our printer still works!

Here are some simple Advent and Christmas activities for the family:

1. Scripture Reading
Sometime this year, the playgroup gave us a copy of the Jesus Storybook
Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible reads more like a book than a bible.
Our goal is to read one chapter a day starting on the 1st of December
and ending on Christmas day.
Jesus Storybook Bible Reading Plan
Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Calendar

2. The Christmas Novena
Sarah and Elizabeth are all excited for this Christmas novena.
I wanted to do something that will require me to pause daily.
At midnight.. In piercing cold are words that truly tug at my heart.
It chokes me up to think of any of my children being born
in such cruel and harsh conditions.
Poor baby Jesus. And heartbreaking for Mother Mary and St. Joseph.
Tug tug tug!
So yeah, maybe this will be a good novena for me to pray this year.

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 piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
* Pray 15x daily from the 30th of Nov until Christmas Day*

3. The O Antiphons
The O Antiphons are a seven day countdown to Christmas.
It celebrates seven Messianic titles of Jesus.
We pray it to remind ourselves and to invite the Lord to "Come"

4. Luke 2:1-20
Misty's home has this Advent tradition of reading Luke 2 daily.
Twice a day, the kids read Luke 2 with the intention of
memorizing the verses. In a few years, the kids will have
known the Birth of Jesus verses by heart. Sounds promising!

5. Christmas books and carols
So yeah, we've been reading Christmas themed books as
early as end October. I envy those moms who have enough
books for a proper Christmas book basket. Almost all our
Christmas books are borrowed from the library. We started
early as there is no way of knowing what will be available
in December.

Just about the same time, we started singing Christ-centered
Christmas Carols for bedtime.
M: Mama what does faithful mean?
Me: Why do you ask?
(All the while wondering why he was asking)
M: Because -- O come all ye faithful
Me: Oh, that means people who believe in God
(Whew, relieved that it did not involve anything "age appropriate")

6. Give up and Give more
Give up and Give more is an annual tradition in The Feast
that we attend. In a nutshell, sacrifice on a few simple
pleasures and donate the money to a worth cause.

At the barest level, give up some of your ME time and
pray more for/with someone who really needs it.

7. Go to Confession and Attend Mass
Attending mass is a basic thing for hubby and I. It's as basic as
eating and sleeping. It isn't something that I originally thought
of putting here. But maybe this is here for someone else???
Confession is something we try to do once a quarter.
I pray that availing of the sacraments is ingrained in the kids.
Something that is part and parcel of their lifelong relationship
with Christ. All with God's grace.

Some moms have wisely said that all you need are 1-3
Christmas traditions. Anything more is extra.

What traditions do you have in your family? What are your plans
for Christmas 2014? Til next time, stay blessed!