Posted tagged ‘Advent’

Lesson Notes: Advent Activities Packet

November 22, 2017

Advent Activities

This packet of ideas is all about helping your family to get control of the pre-Christmas season and to use it to actually prepare for the Savior’s birth.  I like this analogy by Kendra from the Catholic All Year blog:

I think of it like I was planning a big wedding. It would be on my mind months ahead of time. I’d get a few major projects done well in advance so I wouldn’t have to worry about them as the big day approached. Then in the weeks before the wedding, I would focus on having everything I needed available and organized and cleaned. I would bake the cake and prepare the food. I would scrub down and decorate the church and the reception hall in the days just before the wedding. I would be prepared to celebrate. We’d have the rehearsal dinner the night before.


But what I wouldn’t do is throw a reception or two a couple of weeks before the wedding and eat the cake and the wedding bell cookies and drink all the champagne before the happy couple is even married, before they’re in town even. That would be crazy.  But that’s kind of what I was doing with Christmas.

All of our activity packets are filled with ways for you to celebrate the special seasons of the Liturgical Year.  They are not “lessons” in the traditional FF sense – the expectations are these:
  • Look it over ahead of time and prayerfully consider what will work with your family.
  • You are almost certainly not going to do everything in the packet.  It’s a bundle of ideas for you to choose from.
  • The packet is probably intended to be used throughout the season.  In this case, you may want to start with the calendar activity sometime before Advent actually begins, do the St. Nicholas activity on December 5th (in preparation for his feast the next day), and then pray the O Antiphons beginning on the 17th.  Quick and easy!

Partners in the Gospel: Jesse Tree Treasures

November 9, 2017

Partners in the GospelAdvent, Advent!  There are so many wonderful things I could say about this favorite season!  I always feel like every effort focused on waiting* and preparing for Christmas is a little victory that will help my family better celebrate the birth of Christ.

Whether you light a candle each evening, read a book set aside for the season**, or change up your family’s prayer time a bit, Advent offers lots of opportunities to grow in faith!

The devotion I’d like to mention today is an ancient tradition that helps us recall the long, long wait for the arrival of the Savior.  It’s called a Jesse Tree (from the promise in Isaiah 11:1-4) and simply involves recalling a little piece of salvation history each day throughout Advent.  From creation to the manger, presenting this long wait as chapters in a single story is an immensely valuable way to give your family an abiding sense of God’s love and His plan for us!

A beautiful way to do that is with the ornaments created by Jane and Angie at Jesse Tree Treasures.  Not only are they heirloom quality, but they are kid safe and come with the Scripture references you need to make this a successful prayer and story time throughout the entire season.  If you would like to put together a custom set to match your favorite children’s Bible, they’ll help you with that.  If you would like to extend the tradition with additional sets, they do that too.


Advent starts on December 3 this year so this would be the best time to order to make sure you’re ready to go.

*(Never mind that this also cooperates with a tendency to procrastinate.)
** Great Advent book lists from trusted Catholic sources: Rosie’s listHaley’s list, Elizabeth’s list, and many, many lists from Jessica!

Partners in the Gospel: Give Him 5

November 6, 2017

Partners in the Gospel

Next in our series of creative ways people find to spread the Gospel, we’re excited to share the work of a ministry that is near and dear to our hearts; Give Him 5.  Michelle gives all credit to the Holy Spirit, but we’re so glad we can benefit from all the ways she cooperates with His inspiration!


Advent candles-2Do you want Advent to be more meaningful this year? Get your kids excited to wait upon the Lord with the Give Him 5 prayer bag. Each bag includes all the tools you need to help your child pray and encourage a friendship with Jesus.

  • The five-minute sand timer is a fun reminder to get started and when it runs out you won’t want to stop praying.
  • The “Begin with FAITH” prayer cards will guide your child through their conversation with Jesus using the FAITH message.
    • F– find a quiet place
    • A– ask Jesus to be with you
    • I – tell Him what is important to you
    • T– thank Him
    • H– ask for His help in your life
  • You’ll also get a Give Him 5 Pocket Cross, a scroll explaining why to pray, and a handy bag to keep it all together.
  • In addition, be sure to use the great audio prompts you can find on their homepage.

Bags are great for ages 4-99 years and you can use the code “Prayer” to receive 15% off your entire order. Contact Michelle for bigger discounts offered for churches, schools, and groups.

Give Him 5 (1)


Lesson Notes: Advent Packet

November 16, 2016


Family Formation’s seasonal activity packets have some unique characteristics that distinguish them from the other Home Lessons and since Advent is the first one you’ll get this year, this seems like a good time to give an overview.

  • You’ll get four of them each year; Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.
  • Quite often they are not assigned a specific week for you to do them.
  • Also, they can typically be done at any point in the season.
  • Unlike the Home Lessons, where it really is the goal to do as much as possible, each activity in these lessons stands alone and you may choose to do one or lots of them.
  • Even though this one is listed at the bottom of the “Month Outline” on the sidebar of your Home Lesson covers, you’ll want to pull it out earlier in the month to do a little planning and preparation.

Advent is one of those movable feasts, not associated with any particular date.  It always starts four Sundays before Christmas, but because Christmas could fall on any day of the week, some Advents are several days shorter than others.  This year, since Christmas is on a Sunday, Advent is as long as it could possibly be.  That gives you lots of time to prepare and really spend time with the season before moving on to the celebration at Christmas!

Advent begins on November 27 this year, so sometime before then, look through this packet and find find an activity or two that will work for your family.


December 12, 2015

Advent Activities

Today is the third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete (gow-DAY-tay) Sunday.  The day takes its common name from the first word of the introit of this day’s Mass:

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

This may be translated as: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1


Rose colored vestments may be worn instead of violet and you probably have a rose-colored candle in your Advent wreath for today.  Why rose?  I like to think of it in terms of a sunrise.  In that time between darkness and day, the sky is often a beautiful pink color.  This transition is a little like the third Sunday in Advent.  We’re past the half-way point and it’s time for a little encouragement in our time of extra Advent sacrifices.  Which brings me to the next point:

How’s your Advent going?  We started out with extra prayers and sacrifices, Advent calendars and Jesse Tree readings, and it’s possible some of that has fallen to the wayside during this busy month.  No matter where you are, I’d like to encourage you to rejoice today in the good that has happened and pick it all up again for these last couple weeks before Christmas.  It’s not too late to continue to prepare your family for a deeper relationship with Jesus!

(Thanks to B for sharing the photo and I’d like to mention how great it is that her Jesse Tree and Advent calendar are down low at a preschooler’s level.)

Prepping for the Season

November 19, 2015

Advent will be here before you know it, so it’s time to get this year’s Liturgical Calendar. Did you know that this is one of the individual pieces you can buy on Family Formation’s web site?   Liturgical calendars make a great gift for godchildren or anyone else who wants to keep track of the seasons and Bible readings of the Church. They’re very reasonably priced and available in two formats both in either Spanish or English: ready-to-color or colored and laminated.


The main advantage of the uncolored one you get to be both artist and student! Directions for coloring to match the Liturgical Seasons are a part of each calendar and we guarantee you’ll learn as you work.


The back is also filled with great stuff Catholics should know!


The colored and laminated option is durable enough to survive lots of handling as you refer to it throughout the entire year. It’s a great choice if you have children who are too small for detailed coloring but still want to keep track of the color your priest will be wearing at Mass each Sunday.

Advent Week 4 – Prayer and reflection for busy households

December 20, 2014

From the Catholic Spirit:

The following Advent wreath prayer is intended to help busy households make Advent a prayerful time during the rush of Christmas preparations. The language is fairly simple, intended to be used for personal prayer and reflection or by groups of adults or adults with children. Options are noted to allow for participation by a variety of members of a household.

Leader: The fourth and final week of Advent begins today. As we near Christmas, we spend this moment in prayer so that we are better prepared to welcome the Christ Child into our hearts and into our lives.

Light all four candles on the Advent wreath.
Read aloud 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38. (A different person might read each passage.)
Leader: When we think that we are in charge and in control, that’s when we need to remember it is God who has provided everything we have and made us everything we are.

This fourth week of Advent, the reading from 2 Samuel leaves us asking: “Do I have a dwelling place for the Lord in my heart?” This week, let’s ask ourselves, “Are our hearts a fitting place for the Christ Child to rest his head?”

Closing prayer: (Leader may read all, or others in the household may each read a segment.)

Father in heaven, help us to remember that all our gifts come from you. When we think we are in charge, remind us that we are your people and that you are our God. And let us have no gods — not wealth, not power, not fame, not material things — before you.

God above, as you found favor in the Virgin Mary, help us live so that you find favor in our lives. Help us to be holy.

Help us, Lord, to follow Mary’s example of faith and trust. Along with Mary, help us, too, to say: “Yes, God, I am yours. Do with me as you want. Make me your hands on earth.”

Holy Spirit, inspire us to live every day as if Christmas were just a week away.

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