We love Advent around here ... but we love the Christmas season even more. And our home is beginning to look and feel and smell like Christmas!
Especially during these last days of Advent, we remember the 4 p's: penance, prayer, partying and preparation.
- Penance to atone for our sins that created a world where God had to send his Only Son to save us. We were able to have our adopted chaplain hear our confessions on Wednesday ... always a great thing!
- Prayer for an increase in faith, hope and love during the coming year.
- Partying for the saints whose feast days fall within Advent -- Our Lady of Guadalupe and others -- who help us see the great goodness that exists in our fallen world
- Preparation for the great feasting during the Christmas season -- which for Catholics lasts from Christmas Eve till the Baptism of Jesus (this year, January 11th). Some Catholics even go till the old end of Christmas with February 2nd, the Presentation of Our Lord or "Candlemas" as it used to be called.
And preparation is one of our favorite parts of Advent. When I start doing the Christmas treat making -- especially when I haul out the big roasting pan for my special caramel popcorn -- the kids KNOW Christmas is close.
In this age of everyone working and no one having time for the home arts, a bag of homemade goodies is very appreciated. We love to do this for our friends and family. So, last week we put the baking into high gear so we'd have goodie bags to give on the last day of dh's school before break. We made:
Candy-Cane Crisps and Caramel Popcorn
M&M Pretzel Wreaths
Nanna's Swedish Nuts (Kotch's specialty)
Sweet'n'Spicy Nuts (with the "kick" coming from the cayenne pepper!)
Rocky Road Candy
and Spice Gumdrop Cookies
We makes tons of all of these things ... not just for snitching by the kiddoes and dh ... but also so we can give lots of variety to one and all.
On the 17th we also started to celebrate the O Antiphons using our "house" we made last year; Kotch has been cantoring the appropriate antiphon each night (with the rest of us singing the refrain, not even half so well as Kotch does the antiphon!). Thank God for Kotch's singing talents!
On the 4th Sunday of Advent we bring out the Christmas Tree (which we usually buy the first Sunday of Advent but leave outside in water till the 4th Sunday). We bring it in and set it up ... but don't decorate until Christmas Eve. We put out the Nativity set and begin to get out the blankets, kitchen linens and Christmas dishes reserved for this time of year. We start shifting from our Advent music to Christmas music playing in the background. In short, it begins to look alot like Christmas around here.
I probably won't post again till after Christmas ... but I want to wish one and all of you a very joyous, faith-filled Christmas. We'll be attending Midnight Mass this year (Lego Maniac wants to serve this one and we used to always go to Midnight Mass when I was little so ... we're all going!) and I will pray for each one of you and your intentions during that holiest of nights!