If you’re like many families, in October you feel like you’re still recovering from the mania of getting your kids back to school: re-establishing schedules (“no, you can’t stay up until eleven o’clock”), sorting activities (“how am I ever going to get Jamie to ballet class and Alyssa to her trumpet lesson at the same time?”), and policing homework (“if you’ve really finished, show it to me.”). Halloween is a blip on the calendar, and then before you know it you’re starting to dread the upcoming holidays when there is even more organizing to do.
Advent is often something that happens to us, rather than something we do mindfully. It’s a jumble of worries: of shopping and comparing prices, of entertaining people you sometimes only see once a year, of watching your credit-card debt increase and your equilibrium decrease, of figuring out where Aunt Sally can stay and where last year’s wrapping paper went and… how long does a turkey take to defrost, anyway?
They’re all necessary activities, but they don’t have to take over your life.
What if you could live Advent mindfully, for once? What if you could feel happy anticipation over the coming incarnation of the Divine Master in human form? What if you could feel the Christmas carols you sing this year, instead of having them be reminders of everything you still have to do?
What if you could live Jesus this Advent and Christmas?
We want to help you do that. Without multitasking. Without panicking. Without guilt over seeing the days slip away and still not see how it’s all going to fit together.
The Daughters of St. Paul want to help you #PutJesusFirst this year, and we’ve written a planning guide that will enable you to get everything done, and still approach these two sacred seasons with clarity and recollection.
And we have suggestions to help you make decisions. For example, you might think about the way you invest your time during this season, and change taking on so much. So many parties. So much food. So many gifts. If you can be more thoughtful in your planning, then you’ll discover the ultimate secret of the season: that when it comes to material things, less is definitely more!
Then there are the simple liturgical celebrations where time (chronos) stops and we enter God's time (kairos). It's mystical and yet very down-to-earth as we join with brothers and sisters all over the world to bring our hopes, fears, and joys to God along with the infinite self-giving of Christ in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
So an easy yet powerful way you can stay connected to the season’s meaning is by celebrating the feasts of Advent:
- Dec. 6 is the feast of St. Nicholas, a third-century bishop, known as a miracle worker and a giver of secret gifts. Celebrate with surprise candies for people you love, a surprise gift for someone who is lonely, or a surprise donation to a favorite charity.
- On Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, we honor Our Lady who was conceived without sin. It’s a holy day of obligation, so plan to attend Mass!
- On Dec. 12, we commemorate Our Lady of Guadalupe. When Mary appeared at Tepeyac, she had the same features as those native to that area. We can take a cue from Mary and show compassion concretely for immigrants in our midst.
- On Dec. 13, we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, a fourth-century martyr, whose name and feast day are associated with light. It’s a great day to light candles and ask St. Lucy to pray for your special intentions.
We want to give you our planning guide, but there’s a catch: it starts now! You can’t prepare for Advent during Advent, so today is the day to download the planner and start getting yourself organized.
The planner is our offering to you: a way to live Jesus this Advent and Christmas. God bless you all! Download it here.