How to find Advent in the Christmas chaos, part two

Annemarie Scobey continues her article on how to pull Advent out of all the Christmas messages that surround us this time of year. 

Do You Hear What I Hear? Whether it’s the Night Wind speaking to the Little Lamb or the Little Lamb asking the Shepherd Boy, everyone’s running his or her observations about that first Christmas past someone else. Regardless of how obvious the miracle is, we still need to ask each other, “Do you see what I see? Do you know what I know?” It reminds us why faith must involve community.

What Child is This? I never hear the word lap in church. It’s never in the first or second readings, the Psalm response, or the Gospel. It’s rarely in the homily. Yet lap is a word I—and most mothers I know—use every day. There’s something about the juxtaposition of “What child is this who laid to rest in Mary’s lap is sleeping?” with the line a few moments later in the song: “This, this is Christ the King.” Christ the King started his life in a lap. And in some ways this is the point of the feast of Christmas—to point out just how ordinary and human Jesus’ beginning was. This song reminds us to prepare ourselves for this quiet miracle.

Some other suggestions from parents who pull Advent from the secular Christmas season:

“My kids and I make a point of never walking down a Christmas aisle before December,” says Carol, mother of four school-aged kids. “Doing this makes the kids feel ‘in the know’ about when our church seasons actually are. It also gives us the chance to talk about Advent and separate ourselves from what’s being done commercially for Christmas.”

“During Advent, I put out our unbreakable creche and let the kids play with it,” says Denise, mother of three kids under 9. “They have the angels babysit the animals and Jesus while Mary and Joseph go out. I have resisted bringing more structure or meaning to their play in fear it would kill the joy of their imagination. But it secretly focuses me on the preparation of all those people who were brought to the manger.”   

by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

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