They come and go so quickly, and when the New Year arrives, we always feel like we should have lived them better; we should have given more time and effort to the simple things, the spiritual things, the real meaning of these important liturgical seasons. 1. The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity. An excerpt: darkness can Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted. ( Log Out /  In his rule, St Benedict speaks about what he considers to be the primary virtue: To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,.. taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience. Create a free website or blog at John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; Attend a holiday-themed story time your local library or bookstore, Attend a special Advent church service or event, Go pick out a special ornament for the tree, Visit a historic site to explore Christmas Past, Go out for cocoa together (with marshmallows on top! Room to Breathe A pre-retreat Bible study. His most recent books are “Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength”, and “Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions”. We wait in line at stores. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. And now we have a similar calendar in our house -- 24 small pockets with a stocking of candy canes hanging nearby (and even a few arguments about whose turn it is will still occur :). Whichever discipline or devotion you take up in Advent, the renewal of faith comes particularly from a deepening of our relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – through prayer. Use this free printable set of Advent Calendar ideas & activities to inspire time together for a Christmas Countdown with your kids!. Obedience is the hallmark of a disciple, and therefore our obedience to Christ will be made manifest in our obedience to prayer. Or browse this huge assortment of Advent Calendars to find one that fits your family!! That involves personal as well as corporate prayers, such as attending Mass. A retreat is the perfect time to face those difficulties and go into the ‘desert’ with Christ to do battle, using the armour and weapons God has given us. Here’s an un-edited list of ideas for you to use in your Christmas service. and come to This post may include affiliate links. Reflecting on them before Christmas arrives will help us enter into the spiritual atmosphere of Advent. longings for Use this free printable set of Advent Calendar ideas & activities to inspire time together for a Christmas Countdown with your kids! ( Log Out /  Every year, our activities change and we have amassed quite a list of festive holiday ideas so I thought I would share them with you. So why do so many of us, even those who have been Christians for a long time, find prayer an alien, or even hostile, environment? I’ve tried two different browsers and the images and articles are slow to load, ranadomly vary in size (even when I load the same browser at a different time). Jane Redmont is offering an online Advent Retreat: Whirlwinds and Waiting: Advent Peace in Turbulent Times is designed especially for those who find this season difficult or challenging, offers a gentle, supportive online space. We're including special links to help you with planning some activities, free printable slips for your countdown and affiliate links for items we've used during our holidays. By Caitlin Kennell Kim December 4, 2019. Christmasis a time for joy and contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. However, you do not need to do this alone. Our entire movie list can be found in the Advent Activity printable pack which will make planning your Christmas countdown SO easy! The take home message this December, then, is to go deeper- especially in prayer! A spiritual retreat can quiet your soul and renew your faith. Introduction to the Mystery of Christ for Advent and Christmas. I'm including FREE printable slips for 50 of the BEST Advent activities -- you can get yours below! So why not use Advent as a time to look ahead, liturgically speaking, to savor some of those liturgical feasts that the Holy Spirit has placed, so to speak, under the Christmas tree? retreat and gives them an opportunity to offer prayers of petition. Good thing that 24 is easily divided by 3 so my Mom could quickly swoop in on any disagreement (along with a fast reminder that "Santa's watching"). However, do not worry if you feel you are just going through the motions. ), Get into your pj’s & drive around to see the light displays, Help with the holiday cards (put on stamps, draw pictures, sign your name), Pair a book with each of your holiday traditions (. “On Scripture -The Bible” brings Scripture to life by linking the weekly reading from the Christian Revised Common Lectionary with a short video based on a news story, along with a commentary by one of America’s leading bible scholars drawn from a roster representing fifteen denominations. All of our Advent activities are family-focused because life goes by too quickly and the holidays are already so hectic -- these tiny slips are a wonderful way to make sure we connect a little each day. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at In addition to the candy canes, we also like to include a special slip of paper with a fun Christmas countdown activity for each day. Browse the FREE printable list of 30 Service Ideas & Gracious Giving tracking sheet to bring the spirit of the holidays to others this year! The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Journey, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Operation (put the Bumble together ;). The Art of Waiting: A Retreat Guide for Advent. We've included 50 of the BEST ideas for Christmas activities to include in your Advent Calendar!! ), Christmas Tree Felt Advent Calendar (love this one! So many Christmas traditions surround holiday outings at this time of the year. The new format of the website is dreadful. You can find out more here. Some of the ideas are for Advent, some ideas more generically for Christmas or Christmas Eve. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. ...we regularly post on evangelisation as well as on various events and initiatives happening within our diocese and the wider Church. This Advent Retreat Guide, The Hidden Treasures of Christmas, won’t solve that problem completely, but it will surely help. A mistake to avoid is to do too much. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. A single word is suggested and it is interesting to see how many different ideas come to mind that people share. • In the first meditation, we will contemplate the dramatic lives of two saints whose feast days are celebrated during the Christmas season: St. Stephen and St. Thomas Becket. Share your ideas in the comments. ), Take a winter walk and scout out the animals - use this, Deliver cookies to someone special or a community helper, Collect old towels & blankets to bring to the animal shelter, Choose outgrown toys and donate to a local charity, Donate winter coats, hats or mittens to a shelter, Sign up to ring bells for the Salvation Army as a family, Make hot cocoa and add your favorite toppings, ‘Bake’ a holiday mix that will make the house smell yummy, Make snowman pancakes or Rudolph pancakes, Cut out paper snowflakes and hang them on your windows, Make a holiday card for your teacher or favorite neighbor. Looking for more ideas? The hidden treasures of the Christmas season are the rich liturgical celebrations that happen during the weeks following Christmas itself. A Lesson in Waiting: An Advent Retreat. We're including affiliate links so you can learn more about the items on our list! Rustic Red Truck Burlap Advent Calendar (pair with farmhouse decor! Looking forward to hearing from you about your Advent Practice. Advent. At first they were preached retreats when someone gave input for us to ponder, but after a few years, I became interested in John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ. Each of these countdown calendars has small pockets that can hold activity slips (go to our full list of Advent Activity Ideas page to find more!).

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