Monday, December 4, 2017

The Sights & Sounds of Advent

Happy New Year! The season of Advent began on with the Sunday liturgy, and thus began a new liturgical year. I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning the house and pulling out our boxes of Advent materials, setting up the Jesse Tree, Advent wreath (though I discovered that we're two candles short, so it's a bit incomplete), and nativity set. 

Ready to be filled with ornaments throughout the Advent season.
Once it hit about 4:40 p.m., I pulled out my breviary and prayed Sunday Evening Prayer I and excitedly dove into the prayers and words that mark the beginning of the Advent season. 

This year, I was particularly excited for Advent to begin. I think that because I didn't fully launch into Advent or Christmas festivities in those final days of Ordinary Time (though I will admit to taking a walk around the neighborhood to keep the toddler awake one evening...and to look at my neighbor's Christmas lights!), the anticipation of the coming season built up. And now, it is here. 

Advent is a time of joyful preparation for the coming of Christ, and I love it. Symbols hang down from the branches of our Jesse Tree, a reminder of the prophets, people, and events of the Old Testament that looked to the birth of Christ. The album Advent at Ephesus (currently available on Spotify!) fills the room with Advent chants and songs. Figurines of St. Joseph and Mary travel towards an empty manger, where they will arrive on Christmas Eve. 

The shepherds and empty manger, complete with weather radio.
Advent is an exciting time, but it also is uncomfortable. In this season, we need to prepare our homes and hearts for the coming of Christ. We should root out bad habits and sins, so that we may receive Christ wholeheartedly. There is-and should be-discomfort as we purify our hearts and lives! A lot of people look at this time before Christmas as a warm, cozy season, and while it's perfectly fine to make heartwarming memories with others, we cannot ignore the uncomfortable reality that we need to change our lives. In fact, in the Gospel reading from Sunday (Mk 13:33-37), Jesus tells us to "Be watchful! Be alert!" 

The first ornaments are up!
Advent is full of exuberant hope as we prepare for the birth of Christ. Let's not lose our hope and joy in His coming, and simultaneously, let's remember to truly prepare ourselves for Christ's coming, discomforts and all. For more of my thoughts on Advent, check out my latest article on Embracing the Advent Journey. 

Advent also feels like a good time to knit, and my son needs a winter hat with ear flaps, so I'm imitating Ma Cobb and I'm attempting to make a cunning hat for him. The colors are a little off, but I hope it'll be cute!


  1. I look forward to celebrating the season of Advent each year! Of course, every year it looks a bit different, but it's a beautiful time of reflection and anticipation!

  2. Love seeing everything and hearing your traditions! I've never seen Mary and Joseph travel to the manger (usually just the wisemen) but I think that's such a cool idea and more accurate! ;)

  3. Replies
    1. That's so neat! What are your favorite traditions to do during Advent?
      I definitely have grown in my appreciation of this season over the past few years, for which I'm grateful, because it really is an awesome time of the year.

  4. Amaris gets down from dinner and asks, "Want to put another ornament on the tree?" She gets so excited about adding them (which means we can get her to sit still and listen to the Scripture reading because she knows she can add the ornament if she does this). It's so awesome to see her getting into it! I love seeing both girls start to grasp some of the significance of the season.

    1. That is so cute!!!! I love her enthusiasm :) Peter has very little patience and is only interested in throwing the ornament down or putting it on the tree, so most nights I only do 1 or 2 verses of the suggested Scripture readings so we can finish it without him going crazy. Hopefully as he gets older, he'll be more engaged like your daughter!

  5. Happy Advent, AnneMarie! I just love all the sights and smells of the season, and how unique they are to each person/family. Happy knitting too!