Advent is a joyous time of waiting — a time of reliving Christ’s first coming and anticipating His second. It is a sacred time of prayer, penance, and remembrance of those who go without. It is also a time to prepare for the Christmas season and the beautiful celebration of Christmas liturgies. At homes and schools throughout the Archdiocese, students and their families are eagerly awaiting Christmas.
People often express frustration and concern as to how to keep "Christ in Christmas." Here are some resources that you can use at home or in the classroom!
Advent Podcast The first episode of our podcast, Saints and Scholars On-the-Go, featured ideas for Advent. You can listen here. In this episode, Superintendent Kathy Mears and her guest discuss simple and fun activities, such as a Jesse Tree.
Archdiocese of Boston Resources Bostoncatholic.org offers ideas on how to be welcoming toward your fellow parishioners during Advent. The webpage includes welcoming ideas that are simple to execute, such as: "At Christmas Mass - Smile and Move In:Christmas is the celebration of the great mystery of the Incarnation-the gift of God becoming man. When you encounter those who may not be "regulars," smile. Be a model of joy! Another way to be welcoming is to move to the center of the pew so that others may easily find a place to sit. Go even further by inviting people searching for seats to join you in the pew!"
USCCB Resources The USCCB website includes a wonderful Advent calendar, which is available in English and Spanish! This page also includes information about Advent Wreaths, a Christmas Tree Blessing, Liturgical notes on Advent, and Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene.
Catholic Relief Services Catholic Relief Services offers a “Holy Family, Refugee Family” Digital Advent Retreat. This retreat focuses on the Holy Family and their similarity to modern-day refugees who are displaced from their home by war or strife. From the Digital Advent Retreat: "The journey of the Holy Family escaping Herod can feel like a distant story with no bearing on our lives. But the Holy Family's journey is being made by families fleeing their countries of origin all around the world today.
Half of the 65 million people displaced globally today are children, and this “lost generation” could spend their entire childhood without a place to call home."
Busted Halo Busted Halo is a great site for teens and young adults who are searching to deepen their faith in a modern way. The site offers an Advent calendar that features Catholic leaders such as Saint Mother Teresa and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as popular celebrities such as Will Ferrell and Mindy Kaling. Each day includes a quote and a microchallenge - a simple task to provoke introspection.
A Collection of Resources The Religion Teacher Blog compiled an extensive list of Advent resources and activities. This page includes Advent calendar activities, Advent wreath activities, Jesse Tree activities, prayers, and more.