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Catholicism, Conversion, Liturgical Year

A Very Simple Advent

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How did you spend Advent last year?

Maybe this is your first Advent ever. If that’s so, welcome! Advent is the beginning of the Liturgical Year in Western Catholic Churches. It’s a time of waiting and preparation, a sharing in the long wait for the coming of the Messiah.

Advent is a little like Lent. The liturgical color is purple; it’s a quiet, contemplative season.

It’s also different from Lent. It is NOT considered a penitential season. There are no prescribed fasts or other penances connected to this season (though hitting Confession never hurt anybody who’s waiting for their Lord’s first and/or second coming. Just saying).

Advent is also not synonymous with Christmas. They are two separate seasons with different meanings and practices.

My Advent Plan

My very basic Advent plan this year includes:

  • an Advent wreath
  • a nativity scene
  • An attempt to read a book about a Franciscan saint – Padre Pio, maybe? Solanus Casey? What do you guys think? (I am choosing a Franciscan saint because I am currently in the inquiry stage to explore if I may have a vocation to the Secular Franciscan Order).
  • the Saint Andrew Novena. For reals this time…really.
  • A Jesse Tree.

It does not include:

  • Much holiday food before Christmas. Holding off the cookies until Christmas is good for Advent, and also for my hips. I plan to keep our meals simple and our desserts minimal until Christmas Day, and then it’s party time!
  • Lots and lots of Christmas music. But there might be some. These things happen.
  • A lot of worrying about what I should and shouldn’t be doing. I’m getting the hang of this as I go. Can you relate?

I have to give myself grace in this area, and I bet you might, too. I have a lot to learn, and I’m really busy and fairly mentally maxed out this year. For somebody that only a couple years ago was fond of saying “Keep Christ OUT of Christmas,” there’s a pretty steep learning curve here. (seriously. I meant well. I’ll try to explain sometime).

That’s it, guys. I’m still trying to decide when to decorate…what are your plans?

4 thoughts on “A Very Simple Advent”

  1. In the Eastern church Advent is a lot like Lent and includes more rules about fasting, etc. In some ways doing that does make know HOW to Advent a little easier. But I also like the flexiability of the Western church’s celebration.
    This year I want to keep up with Liturgy of the Hours again! Last year was the first year I pulled it off and I think it made a big difference in feeling spiritually prepared for Christmas – instead just hurtled there by the calendar.

    1. Great post – thanks for sharing! My family always waits until Christmas Eve (during the day) to decorate, and we turn all the lights on in the evening. This tradition makes Christmas particularly special because the anticipation during Advent is so great! Then we celebrate with a delicious dinner and Christmas cookies before midnight Mass!

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