7 Things You Should Do this Advent
Christmas is right around the corner. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's easy to forget that Advent is a special time as well that all Catholics should observe. Here are 7 things you can do in order to make this year's Advent season stand out.
Make an Advent Wreath
Set up an Advent Wreath in the center of your dinner table. It can be as simple as buying a wreath and four candles from your local craft store or ordering one online. I like to exercise my creativity by using white candles with purple and pink ribbons tied around them.
Use this blessing from the USCCB to bless your advent wreath with your family on the first Sunday of Advent
Don’t Put the Nativity Scene's Baby Jesus Out Quite Yet
Setting up a Nativity is a beautiful tradition that is alive and well in the secular world. Make the tradition especially poignant and wait to place Baby Jesus into the scene until Christmas. Christ has not been born yet and the empty manger captures the Spirit of Advent. Just as the figurines in the Nativity scene are awaiting the arrival of the Child Christ, we can actively wait for Him too.
Celebrate Some of the Amazing Feasts Days Celebrated During Advent
We celebrate some of the most unique Saints and Marian Feasts during Advent. Many of these feasts have cultural traditions associated with them. Plan in advance and see where your family can participate in traditions.
- St. Nicholas Day - December 6
- Immaculate Conception - December 8
- Our Lady of Guadalupe - December 12
- St. Lucy - December 13
Reflect on your Genealogy
In the readings leading up to Christmas, we hear the genealogy of Christ in Matthew’s gospel. The Gospels include those details in order to remind Israel the journey they endured to the coming of Christ and how God’s hand was part of every generation along the way. The Gospel writers are saying, “It’s all connected.” Allow Advent to inspire you to learn your genealogy and your roots leading to the Christmas season. What a perfect opportunity to share your findings with your family during Christmas dinner!
Sign Up for Daily Advent Reflections and Commit to Them
Many Catholic Apostolates and diocese provide daily Advent Reflections in multiple forms and mediums in order to help us prepare our hearts for Christmas. Do some reading and find which reflection will work best for you. Some are video reflections, others are blog posts. Sign up for one of these and schedule time every day to pray and ponder the mystery of Christ's coming.
If you don’t want to add an additional subscription to your already crowded inbox, find a book with daily Advent reflections or reflect on the mass readings of the day.
Remember the Migrants and Refugees
It’s easy to forget that Joseph and Mary were Migrants during Mary’s final trimester. They had to move from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to ensure that they were following the law. After that, they were forced to seek asylum in Egypt to protect the Christ Child from the wrath of King Herrod. This Advent, pray for migrants across the world who are seeking hope and shelter from corruption for the sake of their family.
Check out Pope Francis’ Share the Journey campaign and read some of the stories from migrants and refugees from across the world and pray for them.
Make Going to Confession a Priority Before Christmas
Advent is a time for preparation. It is meant to not only celebrate the Lord’s birth but anticipate Christ’s second coming at the end of time. Traditionally, it’s a penitential time. Cleanse your soul and go to Confession. It will allow you to prepare room for Christ in your heart and draw deeper into the season.