Sunday, December 1, 2013

10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year

Happy New Year!

"I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013
sponsored by the Catholic Bloggers Network.

Be sure to visit as many links as possible,
listed at the bottom of this post.

Also, visit Worth Revisiting Wednesday!

Sorry to be late in posting today. We’ve had a busy several days of blessings – getting good news on a medical test, enjoying a family Thanksgiving, celebrating Daddy’s birthday, marching in a town parade, dancing at my 25th high school reunion, plus, of course, celebrating the new liturgical year!

In fact, we reserved our entire day today for beginning our annual practice of preparing our hearts and home to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World.

In practical (and fun!) terms that meant:

{Note:  Affiliate links are included among the links belowRead full disclosure if you wish or simply read on and enjoy.}

1.  Reading a Version of the Christmas Story


We usually read The Christmas Story on the first day of Advent, but, this morning, I could not find our copy of the book.  So, we substituted When Jesus Was Born from the Hooked on Bible Stories kit that Santa brought us a few years ago instead.  

2.  Enjoying a Liturgical New Year Breakfast Together

As is our first day of Advent tradition, for breakfast, we donned paper party hats and sat down for  a celebratory meal in honor of the beginning of the new Liturgical year.  This year, our menu was anything but traditional since Nina had requested GFCF macaroni and eggs for breakfast, so we had that with coconut-milk hot cocoa and sides of sliced apples, sliced pears and mini-chocolate chips.  However, our conversation was more typical: we chatted about what Advent is and predicted changes we might spy in the church later during Mass.

3.  Blessing the Advent Wreath

Before actually digging into our odd assortment of breakfast foods, Daddy led us in blessing the Advent wreath that the kids had made at Nana and Papa's church a few years back.  Then, we lit the first purple candle and the children shared their ideas and knowledge about the symbolism of the wreath, including:
  • The lights reminds us of the light of Jesus.
  • The wreath is a circle because a circle never ends and God's love never ends.
  • The evergreen never dies.  Life never ends either.
  • The four candles are for the four weeks of Advent, when we wait for Jesus.
  • Purple candles remind us of kings and we are waiting for a king.
  • Purple candles remind us of Lent, penance and preparation.
  • The rose candle reminds us of joy.  It is close to the time when Jesus is coming.

4.  Learning Along with Holy Heroes Advent Adventures

Every year, we enjoy Holy Heroes free Advent Adventure.  This year was no different.  After breakfast, the children were thrilled to watch several video clips and to listen to a couple audios, too.  Later, they colored some of the printable Advent Adventure coloring pages to put in the purple Advent booklets they are making this year.

5.  Dancing to Seasonal YouTube Videos

New this year, after breakfast, Daddy decided to turn on some Advent and Christmas-themed YouTube videos.  While the boys watched, Nina partied, dancing on a chair.  

6.  Parading with Rhythm Instruments

After breakfast, we rang in the new liturgical year by parading throughout the house.  At dusk, Daddy and the kids entertained (okay, maybe annoyed or befuddled) the neighbors by having a similar parade down our street.

7.  Opening Advent Calendars

Luke was excited to begin the Advent calendar he had received from our parish as a part of his First Communion prep.  The children also enjoyed playing with the finger puppet Advent calendar we put up every year.

8.  Giving at Mass

Getting started on the gifting of Christmas, each child brought a canned good to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul basket this morning at Mass.  They also selected ornaments from our parish Giving Tree so they could prepare gifts for children in need. 

(The children's outfits this morning attest to the fact that I need to work on better preparing our home.  Although Nina pieced together an outfit in the liturgical colors of Advent, the boys' church clothes were not readily accessible when it was time to get ready to go.  Oops!)

9.  Beginning the Jesse Tree (Sort of) and Having a Read In

Some years we have used a physical Jesse Tree.  Other years, we have just read stories and looked at symbols related to them.  Thus year, the children want to make their own Jesse trees, so this morning I had them each select a set of printable Jesse Tree ornaments to color and we had intended to go for a family walk  to find boughs of evergreen to hand these on as the season progresses.  However, by afternoon, we were all a but tired (or maybe it was just Daddy and Mommy that were after a series of late nights), so instead, we read one of our Advent favorites, The Jesse Tree and, then, had a long lazy afternoon read-in, reading through a larger pile of our Advent library books than I had intended.  These included three favorites: An Orange for Frankie , The Christmas Knight and Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect.

10.  Honoring Family Sabbath Time

Some years ago, we committed to reserving one day a week as a family sabbath day.  Since then, we've honored this commitment more weeks than we have not.  However, at times, we have done so in too legalistic a way.  Sure, we have taken a break from work, but we have not really lived in a true spirit of rest and thanksgiving.  Instead, some weeks, we have rushed about from one "fun" activity to another, "forcing" together time and exhausting ourselves.

Today, we recommitted to a more honest family sabbath.  We prayed together, played together and honestly rested together.  We focused on faith, family and free time to breathe.  We connected.  We paused.  We loved.  And, isn't love what this season is about?

How do you live the Advent season in a way that centers you and your family on awaiting (and reflecting!) the Light of the World? 

Please note:  If you have an Amazon purchase to make today, we thank you for doing so by clicking through one of the links in this post.  Doing so costs you nothing extra, but it may bless our family with a small percentage of your sale to put toward training up our children and sharing it here. 

"I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013
sponsored by the Catholic Bloggers Network.

Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas
Fifth of Five                     Keeping Christ in Christmas - Blog Link-up 2013
Coffee Moments with Sam           The Light of Hope
Open Window               Making hay while the Advent wreath shines
Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas
Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual
On the Way Home:  Keep Christ in Christmas
Sue Elvis Writes: Bring Christ to Others
Mommy Bares All        Why Celebrate Christmas Even After #YolandaPH

Canadian Catholic Mom                Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling               Keep Christ in Christmas
Home to 4 Kiddos      Keep Christ in Christmas
Embedded Faith          Boldly Be the Christ in Christmas
City Girl, Country Home                Emmanuel Is With Us. Are we WITH HIM?
Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats
Joy of Nine9                   Waiting in Joyful Expectation Like a Child

Splendor in the Home                    Ideas For Keeping Advent and Christmas Holy
Training Happy Hearts                     10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas
Catholic All Year: Three Reasons I love Advent
Mary the Defender: Christmas The Battle Begins
Truly Rich Mom: Keep Christ in Christmas
Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Rosary Mom                    Keep Christ In Christmas With A Teenager
Campfires and Cleats                        How We Keep Christ in Christmas
Homeschooling With Joy              Keeping Christ in Christmas
Mrs Domestic Bliss     Gingerbread Nativity
The Chic Traveller      Keeping Christ in Christmas
California to Korea     Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique's Desk       Keeping Christ in Christmas
Our ABC Life: An Advent Update

Journey Living: Anno Domini
Life of Fortunate Chances: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Quidquid Est, Est!: Reblog: Advent Posts

(If you receive this post via email and cannot see the linky, be sure to actually click over to the blog to read browse the rich catalog of ideas there.)


Nathan Barontini said...

Great list! We do the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure too. The kids look forward to doing it all day. God bless.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas! :) We do the Advent Wreath, Jesse Tree, Advent Calendar with books, and Advent/Christmas books/read-alouds to try to stay focused on the Reason for the season. :) I also shared more ways here: God bless you!

Birgit J said...

What a fun filled post! It's wonderful to see a family taking such an active role in living their faith. I can completely relate to forcing the bonding and find it difficult, at times, to slow down and enjoy my family. Your post has inspired me to try harder. Wishing you a blessed Advent!

Cyndi said...

I enjoyed reading about your wonderful family and all of your customs.

Kendra Tierney said...

I love the idea of doing paper hats for a liturgical new year's celebration! We'll have to remember that for next year.

Anabelle Hazard said...

Martianne, seeing your drum set reminded me of the Christmas my children out on a show for Jesus and they were parum pah pumping with that set. also I have heard so much hype about Holy Heroes I am going to have to check that out. do you have an older post on it?

Anonymous said...

PURE JOY! Your family is pure joy.
Blessed are you…
Wonderful post.

Sue Elvis said...


I could feel the excitement and fun you had on the first day of the new liturgical year! I hadn't considered looking for seasonal videos on Youtube. What a great idea! I love Youtube. It's a wonderful resource.

I hope your Advent is very blessed!

Matthew said...

Thank you for this post. Sunday is indeed the perfect sabbath day full of means by which families can honor the Lord and spend time together. It is a great tradition that few families fully honor.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas! We too love dancing around and playing with toy instruments to music! It's fun all year, but especially on cold winter mornings with Christmas Carols playing!

Unknown said...

Love your New Year's breakfast! Looks like you're having a great time delving into the new Liturgical Year! Blessings for Advent!

Christine said...

I love the idea of discussing the symbolism of the Advent wreath with your kids. There are so many little truths to discover in it! I keep hearing such good things about Holy Heroes. I'll have to remember to look into it next year!

Unknown said...

Martianne, So wonderful to have you link up with Worth Revisiting this week! Love the idea of a special breakfast for the first day of the Liturgical year! This is something I had not considered, and my kids would love it :) We also do St. Vincent de Paul and the Parish giving tree. I think we have more fun buying for those gifts than any other. Hope to "see" you again soon!

Allison Gingras said...

I love these suggestions!!! and Thanks for linking up with us last week - Hope you will join us again this Wednesday !!!


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