November 30, 2013
The STRONG program series at St. Alphonsus Liguori reminds families of ways to live and share their faith at home. The goal of STRONG is to help strengthen our faith, our families, and our community.
The hustle and bustle of the season is here! Our days suddenly become filled with shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, Christmas Cards, and more! It’s not difficult to forget what the season of Advent is truly about.
Just like Lent, Advent is a period of waiting and preparing our minds and hearts through fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. It is a time we eagerly await the birth of Jesus!
Try not to get lost in the commercialization of the season, and remember that our children will learn from us. So for this Advent season, take some extra time with your family sharing Christmas stories, reading Scripture, listening to music together, or just sitting quietly in front of the tree talking.
Here are a few things that families can do together this Advent Season:
1. Gather together with music.
Make some hot chocolate and gather the kids together, in front of the tree or a nativity scene. Turn on the Christmas lights and listen to meaningful music, such as this this version of Hallelujah.
2. Have an Advent Wreath.
Learn and discuss the tradition and history of the Advent Wreath.
|An Advent Prayer
My brother, Jesus. It happens every year. I think that this will be the year that I have a reflective Advent.
I look forward to Sunday and this new season, Jesus. But all around me are the signs rushing me to Christmas and some kind of celebration that equates spending with love.
I need your help. I want to slow my world down. This year, more than ever, I need Advent, these weeks of reflection and longing for hope in the darkness.
Jesus, this year, help me to have that longing. Help me to feel it in my heart and be aware of the hunger and thirst in my own soul. Deep down, I know there is something missing in my life, but I can’t quite reach for it. I can’t get what is missing.
I know it is about you, Jesus. You are not missing from my life, but I might be missing the awareness of all of the places you are present.
Be with me, my dear friend. Guide me in these weeks to what you want to show me this Advent. Help me to be vulnerable enough to ask you to lead me to the place of my own weakness, the very place where I will find you the most deeply embedded in my heart, loving me without limit.
History of the Advent Wreath
3. Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6
Read a story about St. Nicholas before bedtime and have the kids put their shoes out. Fill their shoes with chocolate coins and share in the surprise the next morning.
About St. Nicholas
4. Participate in Reconciliation.
Attend the parish Penance Service together on Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m.
5. Have a nativity scene in your house!
Did you know the first-ever Nativity scene to be recorded in history was by St. Francis of Assisi? St. Francis was becoming concerned that the meaning of Christmas was slipping away from people as they were more focused on the ritual of gift giving. The Nativity scene, or Crèche, was a way to remind people of the story of what Christmas is truly about.
History of the Nativity Scene
6. Read Scripture this Advent.
Whether before dinner or bed, spend time reading Scripture together. Try using the Daily Readings to help guide you through the season.
Find the Daily Readings
7. Be creative.
Use crafts and activities to engage little ones in the meaning of Advent. Try these downloadable coloring pages.
Find Advent coloring pages
8. Wholesome family fun time.
Many kids enjoy going to the movies. Here is a family movie released this year. The Christmas Candle tells a story of how one town kept Christ in Christmas by sharing the light of Christ with others. Now showing at these local theaters: Hamilton 16 and IMAX in Noblesville.