Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Liturgical Living: Advent 2013 Link-Up

This is my first Baldwin family Advent and Christmas... and a few days in, I realized I wasn't remotely aware of it. Back in New Orleans, I'm back in short sleeves and shorts. Christmas time usually means I am bundled up and craving hot chocolate. There are palm trees outside, and there was a slight rain earlier. Yesterday's first reading was Isaiah 11:1-10; the last verse reads:

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Okay God, I get it. Jesus is coming! And a Jesse tree or a Christmas tree is in order in our dwelling. (We have neither right now.) This got me thinking about the family I worked for who celebrated Christmas. They were not religious and their home was devoid of any kind of religious symbols, but they still had rituals: putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, cookie decorating with the cousins.

And now, in my own home with my husband and child, I am faced with the decisions of how we are going to celebrate and live our lives gloriously in preparation of the coming of the Christ child. It'll be an evolving process, a steep learning curve (I need to let myself get more creative), and I hope you'll share your own Advent adventures below!

Advent wreath

I bought four little votive candles tonight - we'll only be here for another two weeks, but we can at least light the purple ones! No wreath yet... on the to-buy list. Any suggestions?

Books

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder is my favorite, hands down. It tells the story of a little girl who chases a little lamb back before the birth of Christ, and then makes an amazing journey with the wise men, shepherds and angels to Jesus - as told to a little boy reading a homemade Advent calendar.

The Word Made Flesh: The Meaning of the Christmas Season by Pope John Paul II (as Karol Wojtyla) is a collection of homilies from between 1959 and 1978. Just lovely.

Decorations

I currently have... nothing. But!!!! I've been dreaming of garland and I spotted a cute and affordable Christmas tree at Wal-Mart across the way, and we're going to buy it this week and then decorate it. {Perk of being married a few days before Christmas... ornaments were a popular gift!!} Then, after the tree is up, and I light the holiday scented candle and pour the wine, I might just be content... but garland. We need garland. And maybe a strand of twinkle lights. [Pictures to come, promises!]

Christmas at home, circa 2009
We also have the stockings my parents gave us last Christmas... and I just realized Grace now needs one too! We'll hang them by the staircase with care, with hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there!

Oh, and forget Pintrest: Katie did a link-up of Christmas decorations last year!

Favorite Movies and Music

The Muppets' Christmas Carol
It's A Wonderful Life
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Year Without a Santa Claus
Miracle on 34th Street (ft. Natalie Wood!)
The Holiday (mostly the Arthur-Kate Winslet-Jack Black story line)

Christmas Carols station on Pandora
A Laurie Berkner Christmas album
The Muppets' 12 Days of Christmas



Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You"
Barenaked Ladies' "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/ We Three Kings"

Favorite Advent song: O Come, O Come Emmanuel! (Leah's too!)

Feast Days

There are a lot of feast days during Advent... we never celebrated any growing up, but we may start with Our Lady of Guadalupe. We're new to intentionally living liturgically!

Giving Back

One of the best parts of the season is the active giving unto others in society. Will and I have felt really called to help the homeless in New Orleans, and I am currently reading up on the best kind of care packages to make for them.

There's also this!!!!!

The Nativity

We have a little Holy Family Fontanini collection given to us as a wedding gift - I am excited to set it out, and watch the collection grow over the years! Maybe we'll have a manager soon! And a couple animals!

St. Nick and Santa Claus

My family mostly did St. Nick growing up (if my mom remembered!), and I'd love to teach the kids more about the man, the saint, the heretic face puncher. (Tis the season to be jolly!)

Will and I are split on perpetuating Santa... I'm on Team Virginia, and Will looks forward to surprising the kids when they're naughty by saying "Santa Claus isn't real!" I like (okay, lovelovelove) this approach - reasonable, fair, fun! Just spreading the Christmas cheer, y'all.

Spiritual Preparations

Meg of Held by His Pierced Hands put together an Advent Boot Camp... check it out. I'm doing it, plus a rosary a day. May try for more daily mass too.

Traditions

Lighting the candles each night before dinner while reading the daily reflection...
Fulfilling presents from the Giving Tree at church...
Volunteering to help at a local charity...
Decorating the house and tree...
The Luminaria...

Treats

Hot chocolate and marshmallows, white chocolate covered pretzels, green and red M&Ms? These are a few of my favorite things! Not to mention the sugar cookies... Yum. I believe rum cake will be entered into the season this year too!

Weather

New Orleans is quite balmy, but we'll be heading back to the Midwest for half of December and half of January.  Brrrrrrr.

For those looking to unplug this Advent season, Haley writes on what she is doing to focus better on the season. And if you're looking for a Christmas present... her e-book looks rad!

As we enter into this season, I think it is important to prepare our homes as well as our hearts, as a means to more intimately know God and show his love for us. Let us gloriously prepare his coming!


1 comment:

  1. AH! The Word Made Flesh! Thank you for that recommendation!

    ReplyDelete