A few days ago, I wrote about living liturgically throughout the year. Today, I’m sharing some of our plans for the new liturgical year, as well as our plans for Advent.
Like I said, my husband and I spoke about what we want for our family, and about what will work for us and what wont. We decided, at least for now, to take it slow and keep it simple! However, as I was making plans based on what we spoke about, I still had the urge to be gung-ho about it. I wanted to dive in head first and start planning elaborate schemes for the year. Realistically, though, I know that just doesn’t work for our family. At least not for now. The kids are so little, so keeping it simple is going to be the best and most fruitful thing for our family. For this coming year, we’ve decided to focus on a few main things:
That’s it! Instead of worrying about covering every single feast day, we’re going to pick our favorites each season, and focus solely on those. Included in our favorites will of course be the Holy days, as well as each of our baptismal days.
Another simple thing we’ll do is place seasonal reminders around our home. We’ll decorate according to the colors of the seasons, and have a special spot in our home for our family prayer throughout the year. I love Cardinal Burke’s idea of getting candles blessed on the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and using them throughout the year for family prayer. Our family prayer spot won’t be an elaborate altar, but merely a spot where we always meet to pray together as a family–most likely the dining room table, since we find our common prayer most often takes place during dinner when the kids are seated. One other thing we will have is a “focus” for the month. I love Kendra’s idea of praying on a different aspect of our faith each month. I plan on framing a picture that coincides with our intention and placing it on our family prayer spot.
I don’t have the whole year mapped out, but since the new liturgical year begins this Sunday with the season of Advent, I’ve started there:
Advent, meaning “to come,” refers to the coming of Christ. It is a celebration of Christ’s coming at Christmas, a celebration of his coming in our lives through grace in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, and a celebration of his second coming at the end of time. Since Advent is a time of preparation and hopeful anticipation, it is considered to be a sort of “little Lent.” In preparation for Christ’s coming, we are all called to pray, fast, and give alms.
Last year was the first year I was intentional about the Advent season, and one thing that really helped prepare my mind prayerfully was the Advent journal that Blessed Is She produces. Their latest is beautifully designed and well-written, and I’m really excited to begin praying with it! While it may be too late to purchase the hard copy of the journal, you can still download a digital version here.
Last year I didn’t spend a lot of time fasting. (It’s been baby steps for me in this whole process.) This year, I’d like to be more intentional about it. This year, I’ve decided it will be a good thing for me to hold off from treats until Christmas. It’s a bit of a scary concept for me, considering I’m always first at the table (and not to mention the fact that I’m also pregnant), but I think it will be a good reminder to me of what Advent is all about. Also, since Advent is a season meant for slowing down and preparing the heart and mind, I plan on limiting my time on the internet and with the TV.
This Advent, I’ll give alms by spending some time going through our closets in order to donate clothes and shoes that we no longer need. I’ll also offer meals to people who could use a little break during (what is usually) the busiest time of year.
Our family activities during Advent will include a Nativity set and an Advent wreath. I was going to put together a “good deeds” manger, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized my kiddos aren’t quite ready for it. It’s a great idea for bigger kids, though!
Also, do to sheer laziness (i.e. no intentions behind it), I haven’t put up our Christmas tree yet. Usually, I set up the tree the night after Thanksgiving. I always like to put it up early because we never celebrate Christmas at our house. It’s been my way of bringing the Christmas spirit into our home before we leave. This year, I’m taking my laziness as an opportunity to try a new tradition! We’ll set up the Christmas tree this year when Advent begins, and light our tree on St. Lucia’s Feast Day. (“Lucia” meaning “light”.) Though I normally can’t wait to get the music going and the lights up, I’m excited to do it a bit different this year.
We will also celebrate the following Feast Days (linked are the activities that we plan on doing):
- December 6th: St. Nicholas (Minus the wooden clogs.)
- December 8th: The Immaculate Conception
- December 12th: Our Lady of Guadalupe, (With Mexican food and Mexican hot chocolate .)
- December 13th: St. Lucia (I’ll make easy, pre-made cinnamon buns, and we’ll light our Christmas tree.)
This may seem like a lot, but I think the activities I linked will be pretty simple and manageable for us.
Lastly, we’ll decorate our prayer space with purple colors, and remind the kids and ourselves that this is a season of Hope!
I’m excited for this new liturgical year to begin! I love that our faith moves according to a certain rhythm. Participating in the life of the liturgy in the home is yet another way to celebrate the universality of our faith and to foster growth and love of God in our family!
Are you trying anything new this Advent? What are some of your traditions/plans for this liturgical year?