Monday, December 22, 2014

Watching and Waiting

All of the candles are lit. The Jesse tree is filled with beautiful ornaments. It's been a lovely, prayerful Advent here. We've greatly enjoyed these two beautiful books --- 

Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts and blogger at, has given us profound insights on which to reflect as we've read and prayed together each day. I'm so glad I purchased both books. The family book has the Scripture stories and reflections for the Jesse Tree readings. It's beautifully written and illustrated. The Greatest Gift follows the same stories and digs deeper for adult reflection. Together we've pondered God's "unconditional, unbeatable, unfailing, unwrappable love" for us as we've journeyed through the stories of God's grace in the Old Testament. I've been deeply inspired by the reflections in The Greatest Gift every single day. Truly, the hustle and bustle of the season are NOT what it's all about. God's coming to us at Christmas is NOT something we can earn or "be ready for." It's not based on our performance, organization, or perfectionism. We are called to create an open space within us, to receive the love and grace of God who came to save us and wants to be the King of our hearts, the Lord of our lives.
Beginning on December 17th we have been singing the O Antiphons. We still love the O Antiphon House I made with our homeschool group several years ago. As we turn the blocks each day, we see how the first letters of the Latin terms for each title of Christ spell out "Ero Cras" ("He Comes") and we rejoice.

This year I made these "O" ornaments for each antiphon. We've been adding them to our Jesse Tree.

The final Advent tradition we implemented this year is decorating our Christmas tree with purple and pink ornaments (which I bought at deep discount after Christmas last year). After Mass on Sunday we finally switched over to our collection of Christmas ornaments. It was nice having the simple pink and purple to remind us that we've been in a time of waiting and prayer.

Again I thank God for the beautiful Seasons of the Liturgical Year. Around and around the cycle we go, each time different because we are different. Each year we enter more deeply into the mysteries that we celebrate. It is one of the great joys of teaching and living the Catholic Faith with our children. Each year they grow to understand and cherish the stories, prayers, rituals, and traditions more and more. We learn and grow together through the years.
And now we are SO CLOSE to the Feast and Season of the celebration of the Incarnation. Don't forget to sing those Christmas carols for twelve (or more) days and proclaim the Good News of Jesus' birth into our world and our hearts.

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