Ask one hundred people on the street, "What does Christmas mean to you?" and you are likely to get 100 varied answers. The Christmas Advent Season always conjures up thoughts, feelings, and memories. Would you like to make the entire season more memorable, and more positive for those you love and care about? Thoughtfully establish a tradition!
Traditions can be wonderful "anchors" in a life of flux and uncertainty. Our best traditions remind us of our place and purpose in this world. And the good news is that you can establish your own tradition, and perhaps see it carried on for generations to come. And, it doesn't have to be expensive.
Traditions centered around activities: Some families establish a tradition around the activities of the season. Shopping for the tree, decorating the tree as a family, going caroling, having a special Christmas dinner, going to Christmas Mass.
Traditions centered around the Message of Advent: Some families have established a tradition around the Message of the Advent season. As an example, we have for thirty four years gathered the entire family on Christmas eve, and read the story of Christmas from the gospel accounts, let the youngest participant put the story in their own words, which by the way is always good for some humor, offer a prayer of thanksgiving, and then opened one present each while Christmas music plays in the background. Even those family members now in other states with their own families or single, take a few minutes out on Christmas Eve to celebrate the wonder of the message of Christmas, sometimes checking in by phone to share in the tradition.
A Tradition centered around reaching out: We are aware of families that invite a person from their Parish or from a neighborhood nursing home to the home for Christmas dinner. Others choose to serve food in a local shelter for those with no home and no family. Still others deliver toys to homes where Christmas presents are an unlikely event.
The strength of establishing a tradition lies within the ability of the tradition to make the participants cease their normal activities, and focus on the deeper meanings within a holiday over cluttered with the frivolous and commercial. To be sure: We can enjoy the latter, and should. It just grounds us in truth to find our individual and collective methods of celebrating the incredible gift of the Christ Child.
The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking ... continue reading
To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace... continue reading
A surprised Mary is afraid
A perplexed Mary is confused
An astonished Mary is faithful
Making a difficult Journey
Facing difficult circumstances
The Fruit of Thy Womb...
The Angel's Visit
The conversation with Joseph
The Visit to Elizabeth
God speaks to Adam
Isaiah speaks to Israel
An Angel Speaks to Joseph
Watched from Heaven
Watched from Darkness
Watched by Man
Not just any child
Not just any destiny
Not just any result
The weeks of Advent remind us to set aside some of the hectic business of the holiday season, and to quietly reflect on the promise of the baby born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. The Bible readings listed below relate to the Advent themes of waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah. continue reading
Establish a Tradition
Involve Everyone, all ages
Open your door to others
The message of Christmas is that
the visible material world is bound to the
invisible spiritual world.
Great cultures Celebrate Christ
Gift Giving is Universal
Great Stories and Quotes