Real quick, in the midst of your Thanksgiving preparations, I’m going to throw in a little Advent preparation (and I still hear Rosie: “preparation for preparation?” Me: I guess so!).
My version is to just give you food for thought, so don’t get nervous, because I know that you have a lot to do. Me too!
(That’s not a trash bag out in the yard, as some little kid asked me — that’s a target for bow hunting practice, as it’s that season around here — can’t you tell from the leaves and the general air of November?)
I had to put Roxie on the leash because she barks so awfully whenever anyone comes in, and the plumber had to come to figure out where the leak was coming from, that made this happen:
Yes, as I told you on Instagram, water oozing up from the floorboards, yikes.
So we’re trying to dry out and definitely had a setback with the water turned off (turned out that it was a pinhole leak in the line to the ice maker, boo).
And that is why I deep-cleaned my bedroom instead of got ahead on my cooking.
But anyway, over the years I’ve written a lot about Advent.
I want to try to put the main links here so you can read them little by little as you get ready for Sunday. The only action items are to remember to have candles and a calendar!
A sort of “gird your loins” post that I hope puts things in perspective:
“So we are in that terrible and oxymoronic predicament of having to sort of invent traditions — often while fending off well meaning (or sometimes bitter) relatives (and even some at church!) who have liturgy-thwarting ideas.” I think what was on my mind was the diocese that decided Christmas carols during Advent were fine, and oh, parties too; in short, go ahead and give in to consumer culture. But I think we need to be careful, and I tell you why here.
“All I’m trying to say in this little post is that the Church has provided us with all we need and we don’t have to manufacture any feelings about it. Follow her lead in worship. That is, follow her in the celebration of the mysteries, the readings appointed for each day and each hour, and the prayers that gently and peacefully direct our gaze where it needs to be. Be attentive: Wisdom!”
“John Saward says, ‘In the liturgy of His Church, the eternal Word incarnate works wonders with the calendar.'”
Practical help when the world is moving on with “Xmas” celebrations — does it matter?:
“Auntie Leila says yes, because how we spend the hours given us matters. We can’t ignore that our choices shape our children’s experiences of these times. If we spend all of Advent hopping from one glittering, candy-and-decorated-cookie, gift-wrapped, Frosty-the-Snowman-blaring, and holiday-punched event to another, Christmas Day will be a let-down (not least because we parents will be super grouchy).”
In the comments to this post, a wonderful reader named Dianna shared with us the “Lessons and Carols” booklet she had put together. It can be printed out as a booklet. Thank you, Dianna!
And our good friend Jana Schmitt told us about this CD with Advent lessons and hymns. It looks really beautiful. There are many more interesting comments and thoughts, so be sure to read them.
During this coming Advent I am going to try to delve a bit into the religious education of the child — a little series maybe? This original Advent post was a taste of what I’d like to say:
“The Church and the generations that have gone before us have given us a miraculous guide for keeping a simple heart of wonder in ourselves and our children.”
Advent is the time to start the fundamental religious education of your child (and yourself! A little child shall lead them!), so start now, just by living it, and then we will talk.
Here’s the thing. Many people are reluctant to give Advent its full liturgical due, because they love the feeling of a whole season of Christmassy cheer. Good news! That season exists and is called… Christmas! Learn to celebrate all twelve days of it without going bonkers.
Please, I beg you, listen to the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit through the Liturgical Year*. It’s all there for you — just about everything you need to know, to pray, and to teach. If we did this — pay attention to the Liturgical Year (the actual one, not the made up busy-work one that goes by that name), the rhythms, the prayers, the orderly movement from darkness to light, from wandering to home, from earth to heaven — we’d know we are living in the Kingdom of Heaven right here on earth, together.
*The Liturgical Year is the hours, (the Divine Office, the prayer of the universal church); the day, with its feasts of the saints who show us the way of holiness; the week (with its Sunday celebration — not only the action of the Eucharist and the reading of the Word, but the Propers with their Scripturally based indications of how we ought to think about the Word in connection with where we are in the larger context of the calendar– one week is not like another!); and the liturgical seasons, with their rhythm of fast and feast.
All of it is found in the Divine Office and in the calendar, and can be lived as much or as little as we are able. We don’t have to chant all the liturgical hours, of course, but when we honor the saint of the day and perhaps take note of the antiphon of the Vespers of a feast day, we unite ourselves to Christ in a particularly efficacious way. We wrote all about how to bring this “living of heaven on earth” in our book, The Little Oratory.
I pray you may get to know it better!
Here is David Clayton’s review of the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Anglican Use/Ordinariate version of the breviary, in a beautiful English translation. I can attest that it is a lovely edition that every family could own and learn to use.