Monday, December 8, 2014

How are we preparing for *this* Christmas? - 2nd Sunday of Advent & the feast of the Immaculate Conception 2014...

Morning everyone! Hopefully my greeting depicts "chipper!" because I am indeed in a very good mood. I had an excellent and jam-packed weekend, and over the course of the week I'll write about all of it. So! We had the feast of St. Nicholas on Saturday, an action-packed dance performance that evening, the Second Sunday of Advent, taking the kids to see The Nutcracker that afternoon, and the feast of the Immaculate Conception today. I'm going to have my usual Catholic Monday going on, with a recap of the Second Sunday of Advent, plus the feast of St. Nicholas, also touching upon my morning Mass for the Immaculate Conception, as they meld together nicely. Tomorrow will be a Dance Tuesday post recapping all the hafla fun (and it *was* super fun, I just love writing those posts, and I hope you enjoy reading them!), and on Wednesday I'll talk all about The Nutcracker and my first year of bringing both children. That is such a beautiful Advent tradition, I can't wait to write about it.

Ok! So let's get underway with our weekend recap of Catholic devotions and liturgical activity. Friday evening before my last dance rehearsal, the kids set their shoes out on the hearth, and this is what we found in the morning:

Anne chose her pink furry boots to put out there, isn't that a scream?
Books, chocolate coins and saints for everybody. :) The kids really enjoy this feast day tradition, and even though I didn't grow up with it as part of our home faith life, I definitely plan to carry it on. I also think it makes it easier when the inevitable "is there really a Santa Claus?" discussion comes up (as it did 2 years ago with Henry) when the kids already know about St. Nicholas. Santa Claus is a fun tradition based upon a *real* person, a saint, whom they are familiar with, and I think this softens the blow a bit. :)

And Anne, oh my goodness, LOVES her St. Therese saint softie:

PRECIOUS. She takes her to bed to cuddle and carries her around the house with her. I have Our Lady Star of the Sea for her Christmas stocking, and now I'm SO glad that I got her two. The shop that I bought these from is Saintly Silver on Etsy. The owner doesn't have any current listings because she's booked until after Christmas, but she'll have items back up for sale in early January. These are *fabulous* gifts for young children.

Sunday dawned with us adding the second purple candle to the Advent wreath, and I found that someone had rearranged our nativity set:

Apparently, everybody has banded together, including the angel and a sheep, to adore the infant King from outside in a mass lineup. :0 And the responsible party was *super* active at Mass in her excitement about the upcoming Nutcracker festivities, bouncing all over the pew and generally talking for all of Mass:

"ANNE. Shhhhh, Honey. We have to be quiet during Mass."


You know how that goes, all of you fellow long-suffering parents out there. I pointed out the two lit purple candles to both kids, and as ever, there are lots of questions and excitement about it being "pink candle Sunday" next weekend.

This morning I stopped off at 8 am Mass for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on my way into work. This is an interesting one since, being the patronal feast day of the United States, the holy day of obligation is retained even when it falls on a Saturday or a Monday, in contrast to other holy days throughout the year. I love attending Mass during the week, so it's always a blessing to me to have that extra encouragement to do so before work. I stopped off at a parish close to campus so that I would get to work by 9.

There was a pretty decent showing for a holy day Mass, in my opinion. The organist started things off by asking everyone to stand and greet each other, and can I be honest? I *loathe* this practice, lol! It's well-intentioned, certainly, but I find it forced and uncomfortable. The sign of peace is one thing, but this extra bonding activity is an awkward turn off for me personally. Happily, I wasn't sitting close enough to anyone to have to worry about it. I did wish them all peace at the appropriate place in the liturgy, however.

*gold star*

At any rate, the older priest who said the Mass was quite adorable, and he had some really thought-provoking statements in his homily. He mentioned how well-placed this feast is during Advent, when we can reflect on how we all need Christ to save us and help us to become holy. He talked about how Advent is a great time to avail oneself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which I thought was an *excellent* point. The key being - how are we preparing ourselves for Christmas? And he made an explicit point about referencing our preparation for *this Christmas*. Christmas comes every year, and we all know it is a special season, but right now all we need to focus on is the present. Christ wants to dwell among us, and each year we need to prepare and reflect on that anew. I really loved that.

It felt so good to be at Mass during the week, I'm hoping to do that again at least once or twice prior to Christmas. I felt all glowy as I headed into work, and voila! Here I am, starting our week together.

How was your Second Sunday of Advent, dear reader, and your feast of the Immaculate Conception? Do detail in the comments, and come back to join me tomorrow to revel in some dance fun. :)


  1. Yeah, we don't do Santa, but I try to prevent Annamarie from telling other children that Santa isn't real by rather teaching her how Santa is based on Saint Nicholas. She's a bit young to get it yet, but I think the tradition of Saint Nicholas is important for explaining Santa. :)

    1. Such a lovely tradition! So glad that we started celebrating it. That Annamarie is such a doll. :)


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