Little miracles: An Advent and Christmas reflection

“What will happen today?” My husband asked me that question this morning before we even got out of bed. It has been a very eventful week (which I’ll get into a bit later on). We can say it was even an eventful Advent season. There was the recent passing of my very dear friend and spiritual director Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR which was on December 13th. Prior to that, we had been waiting. Waiting in this Advent season which is meant to prepare our hearts–waiting for the Christ Child, but also waiting for the Second Coming of Christ which is also our focus during these very holy days.

Much of our personal waiting this Advent season has been in regard to dear Fr. Andrew whose health had suddenly taken a drastic decline–as he seemed to be rushing towards death in a certain sense. But, no one really knew when it would occur. Was it to be on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which was coming up? No, that day came and went. Father still struggled physically. But, no one knew when he would leave us. We tended to think it would be on a feast day. Would it be the following day which was the anniversary of Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s death–someone who was very special to Fr. Andrew? No, Father would still hang in the balance–the Friars surrounding him with prayer and the sacraments. Waiting…loving, comforting…praying…

I am deeply grateful that I was able to visit with Fr. Andrew a couple of times in his last days, as well as to talk to him on the phone. We had beautiful conversations talking about our Faith, various saints, Our Lady of Fatima, and redemptive suffering. We had a blessed time praying together in the chapel of his Friary too.

I’ll never forget our last conversations which are etched now upon my heart. Especially, when I was about to leave the Friary and Fr. Andrew asked the Friar attending to him to please shut the door so we could have more time for a conversation there at the door. And with an extra kiss and hug, we bid our good bye and dear Father thanked me so sweetly for coming to visit and for the words I shared with him. There would be one more visit about a week and a half later. It was short but powerful. Father let me know that he was offering and accepting every ounce of tribulation, pain, and suffering.

We all wondered about Fr. Andrew’s passing. Would it be on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we wondered? No. Father lived through the entire day and night dedicated to the Patroness of his Religious Order. He passed on to his Eternal Reward the following morning. It was on the 13th of the month, a number very significant to Our Lady of Fatima. It was also the feast of Saint Lucy, who was the patron saint of Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries. I shed some tears after receiving the phone call from one of the Friars shortly after his death, even though I knew it would be coming. He was very dear to me. I had been praying for a miracle, but was also fully trusting the Divine Physician who knew what HE was doing. I had no doubt.

I was told that the Friars prayed many prayers for the dying around dear Fr. Andrew’s bedside. During the Litany of the Saints, as Saint Andrew was invoked, our saintly Fr. Andrew breathed his last breath. Wow.

This past week

This past week was Fr. Andrew’s Wake and Funeral. It was a very bittersweet time. No one wanted to see Father go so soon, we would rather have his comforting presence a while longer. But we do have to trust Our Lord. It was good to see the many folks who came out to be there for Fr. Andrew and his Friars and Sisters.

It wasn’t easy seeing dear Fr. Andrew in a casket though, but I felt an abiding peace in my heart because I had no doubt where Fr. Andrew already was. He was in Heaven. Only his body lay there in the casket. Still, the utter certainty that the former comforting spiritual discussions and camaraderie would no longer exist–at least not in the way it had in the past was sad indeed. yet, to be completely honest, I certainly do look forward to staying very much “in touch” with dear Fr. Andrew through my prayers. Comfort fills my heart and I truly believe that Our Lady Herself came to get Fr. Andrew on the morning of December 13th.

The eulogies were extremely heartfelt and poignant. The funeral Mass was so grace-filled.

One tough part for me was at the closing of the casket before the funeral began when the choir began to sing “Sweet Sacrament.” I have vivid memories of Fr. Andrew carrying the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance into the chapel at every Catholic Marketing Network conference (CMN) and then singing that precious song. I can still hear it now. And, another sorrowful moment was as Fr. Andrew’s casket was wheeled down the aisle to exit the church, A pang of sorrow entered my heart when his casket passed by me.

As I felt that sorrow pierce me and cause a few tears to be shed, a beautiful CFR Sister that I knew passed by at that time and winked at me. I smiled up at her and knew she understood my pain. I think that we carried one another and lifted each other up these past couple of months and throughout the past week, especially. Fr. Andrew was so beloved to countless people all around the world. The wonders of technology and specifically through the EWTN television network that transported Fr. Andrew into people’s living rooms far and wide helped so many to get to know the humble saint. He will be sorely missed. However, I hope and pray that people all over will pray for his soul (since that is what we should do even if we feel certain that someone has gone to Heaven) and I hope that they not hesitate to ask Fr. Andrew for his intercession.

On another note, I noticed that you can request funeral cards here. A beautiful photo gallery is here.

An article in the National Catholic Register in which I am quoted. One thing I noted was that, “Father Andrew was such a bright beacon of light to our darkened world,” Aleteia also quotes me here.

On our way home from Fr. Andrew’s funeral, my husband and I played the Litany of the Saints song. We also played “Sweet Sacrament” and “Lift high the Cross” which was also sung at the funeral. We experienced a very holy time during our journey back home.

Cheesecake?!

I’ll also share a sweet and kind of funny story with you. When I filmed many Sunday Night Prime shows with Fr. Andrew, my husband and I would take him out to a local diner afterwards. Father often ordered a piece of cheesecake and a cup of coffee. In a booth there, over a small meal or dessert we would discuss matters of Faith and our culture today. Fr. Andrew was concerned about the state of our culture and the fact that the faithful weren’t heeding Our Lady of Fatima’s message. Conversations with Fr. Andrew were always uplifting even when speaking about unsettling world events. Fr. Andrew’s encouraging words were always like a healing balm. Even through the most difficult challenges, Father brought peace to your soul.

But, back to our meals together at the diner. I’ll let you in on a little secret. One time early on before Father was very sick, when he ordered the cheesecake I asked gently, “Don’t you have Diabetes, Father?”

He answered with a smile, “I take pills for that.”

Don’t worry. He did take care of himself and was allowed a treat every once in a while.

Well, my husband suggested that we stop at the diner after the funeral in honor of Fr. Andrew. Anyway, we did need to eat lunch and it would be a long ride home. So, we stopped and ordered a light lunch and in honor of Fr. Andrew I ordered a slice of cheesecake to go. I’m giving you the whole blow-by-blow here. 🙂 Before we left the diner, the cashier handed my husband a bag. I came out of the Ladies room, my husband handed me the bag and said it was my dessert that I had ordered. I said that it couldn’t be because the waitress had just handed it to me in another bag a little bit earlier. I went back to the cashier and told her that someone must have given my husband someone else’s “doggie bag” (not knowing what was really in the bag), by mistake, but I wanted to give it back.

“Oh no!” the cashier told me. That’s for you, a sweet treat from us for a Merry Christmas!”

I was very surprised. I thanked her and off we went. We got outside and I took a look in the bag. It was a whole little home made cheesecake! What a sweet gift to receive on that special day! Thank you, Fr. Andrew!

Joy to follow sorrow

After attending the services for Fr. Andrew, my husband and I were able to go out-of-state the following day to visit my daughter and her two sons, one being my very new grandson! Our son-in-law was at work during the time that we could visit. So, we missed him but will see him soon. What an absolute joy it was to see my daughter and grandsons–to hug, and hold them! It was such a special highlight of our week. We were deeply thankful to have that time with them a few days before Christmas and directly after bidding farewell to dear Fr. Andrew.

 

During the Christmas shopping rush

I have no doubt that miracles occur in human hearts on a regular basis. We need to be attentive to the needs around us, even, and most especially in such a busy hustle and bustle season. Advent is supposed to be a time to ponder, pray, and grow in holiness, but the advertising frenzy prods us to be running around looking for deals and gadgets. Holy Mother Church encourages us to pause and pray while the world points us away from those holy things. I find that even in moments of crazy chaos, we can pray and ponder and even be of service to someone who needs us.

I am reminded of a few encounters during this busy season. One time I was at a local department store and in the check out line. The cashier told me to go to the next cashier who had just finished taking care of a customer. I followed her directions and a couple behind me started to rant and rave. They yelled at me because they thought I was cutting in line. It was actually quite a scene. I think the onlookers were amazed at the fuss. I told the couple that they could go ahead of me if that would make them happy. They did go ahead of me, but still seemed angry. I prayed for them. I’m sure that they needed prayers. They were so stressed out.

At another store, when out Christmas shopping, I bumped into a friend from church. She was going through a very rough time with her family and asked for prayers and a listening ear. I promised my prayers and after about a half an hour or so, we parted with big hugs. Later that night, I prayed much for her. The following day, I saw her again at another location. She said kiddingly, “We have to stop meeting like this!” I told her I had prayed for her in the night when I was unable to sleep and that I would continue to pray for her situation. She was very thankful, knowing I was praying for her seemed to bring comfort to her soul.

One dear friend who has been through a lot of strife in the past year told me she couldn’t find her Nativity set. It would bring much joy to her to be able to set it up, even just a few days before Jesus’ birthday. She searched all around and prayed to Saint Anthony. I prayed as well. If only she could find that simple symbol of God’s great love for mankind. It would brighten her holidays. I was so happy to receive her email letting me know that she finally found her Nativity set at the very bottom of a pile of boxes from her move. Little miracles are to be found all around.

Recently, out at the grocery store, I enjoyed a surprise encounter with a friend. It happened when just after I had finished shopping, I remembered an item I needed, and so before checking out, I headed to the Deli department on the other side of the store. A woman I know from a local diner gently grabbed onto my arm.

“I was hoping I would see you!” She was visibly excited.

It turns out that she had had brain surgery and was now hopefully fully recovered and back to work part time. She was telling me all about it and did mention that she had an upcoming appointment to go over further test results. She felt that God had put some very kind Angels in her path and told me about them too. As well, she thanked me for being in her life. I gave this woman a blessed Miraculous Medal that I had in my pocket that day. It was one that dear Fr. Andrew had blessed for me. She graciously accepted it and was vey grateful to have it. We parted with big hugs. I was so happy that God had arranged that we saw one another, especially because this woman had hoped she would see me. I never did pick up that Deli item! It certainly doesn’t matter!

Out of the mouths of babes!

Recently after Mass I was carrying the precious vessels to the sacristy and a parishioner greeted me and asked about Fr. Andrew. I gave her the news of his passing. Two young sisters (8 and 10 years old) that I know were nearby. I had one as a student in our faith formation program. The youngest asked ne a question.

“I heard you mention that someone died. Is that the person you asked us to pray for?”

I wanted to tell them gently. I didn’t want them to be upset right before Christmas. But they  needed to hear the truth. “Yes.” I told both of them. “But, don’t worry,” I said. “He went to heaven. It was time for him to pass on to his eternal reward. Thank you for praying for him!”

The youngest quickly spoke up.”Life is a war,” she stated calmly.

I was surprised at her statement, but very happy to know that she seemed to understood already the spiritual battle of life.

She elaborated. “Yes. we have to fight hard to live a good life and get to heaven.”

Her older sister chimed in. “I look at life as a test. And, I want to get an A plus!” She smiled. I was so proud of the girls!

“What will happen today?”

Remember I told you what my husband asked me this morning? “What will happen today?” He asked. He asked that question because we had had an eventful week, but mostly, I’m sure because of the Bobcat and the emergency situations with our neighbors which I’ll tell you about now. I told you part of the eventful week above–about Fr. Andrew’s Wake and funeral. That was followed by the trip out-of-state to see my daughter and grandchildren. Then, just yesterday an ambulance showed up at my neighbor’s home. I left what I was doing to rush over to see if I can help my elderly neighbors. In the past I brought my neighbor to the hospital when she was having a stroke as well as have assisted in some way when an ambulance would arrive to their home due to an emergency. Turned out my poor neighbor was having another stroke yesterday morning, but was also very disoriented. I asked her husband if I could go in the house to try and comfort her. I’ll call her “Bethany.”

“She probably won’t recognize you,” he told me, very matter-of fact.

I ventured in and went over to her amid the chaos of people speaking very loudly. There were paramedics, a caregiver, a nurse–everyone milling around in a flurry, checking papers, asking questions. I squeezed in through the people and approached Bethany, speaking softly to her. She greeted me with excitement, and did recognize me. I sat down right next to her on the couch. I was so happy that she knew who I was even while going through a stroke with advanced dementia. Little miracles are all around…A few minutes later and we were all helping to get Bethany on to the stretcher and the technicians then took her into the ambulance to get checked out at the hospital. I kissed her good bye before being whisked away and promised my prayers.

Later that day, I had to scare off a wild Bobcat that was about to attack my cat! Wow, I thought. Never a dull moment. This was right in my front yard! I was extremely thankful that I opened the front door when I did so I could see what was going on and get my cat in to safety. He is not going to be going outside any time soon!

Last night, actually it was two in the morning when the phone rang. It was Bethany’s husband asking if I could possibly go over to help him convince his wife to go inside the house. It was freezing cold outside and there was a sheet of ice over everything.  My elderly neighbor had just driven his wife home from the hospital and Bethany didn’t believe that it was her house. She absolutely flat out refused to go in. My neighbor didn’t know what he could do so he called me. I was happy that he did so, because I wanted to help. I told him I would dress quickly and go over. Before leaving my bedroom, I quickly grabbed a blessed Rosary from my bedside. I would offer it to her as a comfort (even though I knew that she does not practice any religion).

My husband reached for the flashlight lantern and he accompanied me out into the cold dark night and over to our neighbor’s home. We had to walk carefully because the ground was slick. I approached the car where my neighbor sat. She was very disoriented, but thankfully she recognized me and after some time, allowed me to assist her into her house and into her warm bed. We went carefully through each doorway, holding her up so she wouldn’t fall. Bethany was very happy to receive my Rosary beads and held it tightly in her hand as she lie in bed, finally beginning to warm up under the blankets.

Today, I stopped by their home  to check on my elderly neighbors and brought them a Christmas dessert. They were doing well and very appreciative for our help in the night.

Just before stopping to see them, on the way home from grocery shopping for Christmas dinner I asked my husband to pull up to a little diner in town so that I could give my friend an early Christmas hug. It was pouring rain, but I didn’t mind getting a little wet to surprise my friend. I knew that she worked on Saturdays. She was quite busy with a diner full of patrons, but our sweet Christmas hug was special indeed.

She paused a quick second so I could snap her photo. She had survived her intensive brain surgery and I was grateful too. Little, and yes, big miracles are happening all around us!

“What will happen today?” my husband asked. We never know, on any given day, but we offer our days–each one–over to the Lord, first thing in the morning and trust Him with our lives. We pray that we can be a light to others in a darkened world. We pray to bring others to Him!

Tomorrow is the last Sunday of Advent. It is also Christmas Eve. Where has the Advent journey taken us thus far? What will tomorrow bring? Let’s be sure to bring Christ’s light and love to so many wounded in our world today.

By the way, the Litany of the Saints and “Sweet Sacrament” have been continually playing in my head. God bless you! I am praying for you. Please pray for me.

Merry (almost) Christmas!

 

Bragging about my daughter

I’ve never written a blog post like this before. But, why not? Moms have bragging rights. 🙂 I’d like to share a bit about my oldest daughter Chaldea. If you’ve read any of my books, you might recall that she was the teen ager who gifted me with that special secret gift on my late November birthday many years ago. It was the note in the envelope she left on my dresser. Remember that? She had placed inside her own babysitting money which she gifted to me to help with Christmas presents. I was a single mother at that time and I was moved so much by her big heart.
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I’d like to pass along a link to my daughter’s Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/people/chaldea My daughter Chaldea (aged 35) is an artist and has illustrated 3 of my books (The Heart of Motherhood, The cover of The Domestic Church, and all of the sweet baby illustrations in Prayerfully Expecting).
Chaldea’s work is very wholesome and family oriented. She is also an organic farmer with her feet firmly planted on the ground! In addition, she has a sweet and whimsical book she wrote and illustrated called “Farm House.”
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Please pass along her Etsy website address to anyone you know who might be interested in ordering her artwork. Her greeting cards are amazing, if I may say so myself. Supporting her in her vocation of art helps to keep her at home with her one and a half year old son, Shepherd, my sweet grandson.

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I know I am bragging (but that’s what Moms do!).  While I am at it, I want to also mention that Chaldea is multi-talented. She is not only a sweet wife and mother, she plays many musical instruments, knits, farms, paints, illustrates, and works in many forms of art.

 

Take a look at her art here: https://www.etsy.com/people/chaldea She also sells her art at many week end festivals. She is known for her whimsical characters in her paintings and greeting cards.

Thanks for letting me share about my daughter. 🙂 I will also link her website to this website and my other one.

Christmas Joy amid challenge

It was a blessed and happy Christmas in so many ways. My grandson was here for his very first Christmas! I was surrounded by my five children, my husband, my daughter’s husband, and one daughter’s significant other–all coming together to celebrate in the heart of my home. Needless to say, I was extremely thankful. It was a whirlwind of crazy and blessed few days filled with so much activity and precious moments shared together.

Oh, wait a minute! Did I mention there was a brand new puppy too? One of my daughters has a new puppy and he came to visit too, romping around in Christmas paper!

There were so many beautiful moments, but I cherish the moment when I gave my little grandson one of his very first Christmas gifts. When he saw that it was a board book with bright and cheery pictures he smiled and pointed at the pictures and immediately turned his head to look into my eyes and smiled so wide he made me smile too. It was as if he was saying, “Grandma, I love this book! Thank you!”

That little precious moment warmed my heart.

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This is a different precious moment with a different book enjoyed first thing on Christmas morning. But I will always remember my darling grandson’s little angelic face smiling and looking into my eyes as he looked at his present from Grandma.

 

There were some challenges for me to endure this Christmas time, as well. I won’t go into them now. But, I think you’ll see as you read these stories that there are all sorts of challenges interwoven throughout all of this Christmas JOY. Amid the struggles are stories of joy and blessing, and even miracles too that warm my heart and cause me to praise God. I want to share a few of them with you.

Babies born at Christmas time

I’ll start with the babies. In recent days, I know of two babies that were born safely (one for whom I was praying while in utero which had a serious medical condition). One Mom lost a lot of blood in childbirth and needed additional prayers to recover. Her baby was born early and was having trouble nursing. I was keeping them strongly in my prayers and checking on them. I asked others to pray as well.

She emailed me to say, “God has used you so beautifully to bring us grace in this house and I do not know how to thank you Donna. Thank you for the best Christmas gift.” I was so humbled and blessed by her words. I felt deeply thankful that because of God’s grace, my simple desire to continue prayers for them had made such a difference in their lives.

The other baby was diagnosed before birth with Skeletal Dysplasia (Dwarfism) which can sometimes be fatal. When asking for prayers from me before the birth, the Mom explained, “At this time Doctors are telling us to be optimistic but prepare ourselves because they really do not know if she’ll survive. Her rib cage has not formed properly, the ribs are about half the length they should be, meaning they do not meet the sternum. We have been praying through the intercession of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos for a miracle, that her rib cage will be healed.” She also expressed that no matter what, she would love and care for her baby.

Very recently I received a message from the Mom to say that she was in labor–to please pray for a safe delivery and a healthy baby, and to ask others to pray. I did just that and waited.

The precious baby girl was born just the other day. Her rib cage is fully formed! Thank God! This is truly miraculous and an absolute answer to prayer! The newborn is in the NICU but is doing well thus far. Let’s pray for this baby and family. The doctors are currently testing for another condition which could cause bone fractures. I pray that will be ruled out.

God’s perfect timing

Then there is the order of the 150 Miraculous Medals that I needed to send to a far off place to a woman who had requested them to give to homeless people. I tried to expedite the delivery because I wanted to ensure the package would be received in time for their Christmas festivities. But, even with careful planning and a “guaranteed” delivery time, it still didn’t seem that it was going to make it on time. Yet, I still sensed that somehow the medals would arrive in God’s perfect timing. I knew I had to leave it all in God’s hands because there was nothing more I could do. I sent an apologetic email about the possible late delivery.

A few days later, I received an email from the woman. “I wanted to let you know of how things worked out all in God’s perfect timing…First, the letter I helped compose, somehow didn’t get printed in time to go into the bags either, and the lady who runs the Soup Kitchen ended up going around individually talking with each person, holding their hands, and giving them the letter personally. How beautiful!” She said.

“And now, I am quite sure that this is what God wants of me too,” she explained. “It would be so much easier to just put the gift in the bag and not have personal contact, although the gift handed in person will obviously be so much more meaningful.”

The delayed delivery caused this woman to re-think the way in which she would gift the medals. She now planned to hand deliver each blessed Miraculous Medal to each homeless person who visited the Soup Kitchen.

The medals had indeed arrived on time. I smiled when I read her email about “God’s perfect timing.” Another bit of Christmas joy I thought! What a blessing!

Totally transformed by a kind gesture

Another story really warmed my heart too. Yesterday, I called my elderly ex-mother-in-law on the phone to see how she was doing. If you have read my memoir The Kiss of Jesus, you would know that we are still in touch on a regular basis. She is very dear to me.

Elizabeth just very recently transitioned to a long term medical facility and told me during our phone call that her roommate who is 97 years old had a very tough week and had almost died. A few days after her troubling ordeal, the woman seemed very forlorn. Elizabeth, feeling sorry for Arlene and seeing her so quiet, called out to her from her side of the room. But Arleen just sat there, hung her head and did not respond.

Elizabeth recalled to me that suddenly she had an idea. She decided to quickly pick up a photo from the table beside her bed to show it to her depressed neighbor. It was a picture of her great-grandson (my grandson!) with whom she enjoyed a very special visit on Christmas day.

She wheeled herself over in her chair and showed Arlene the sweet picture. Her roommate suddenly lit right up and started asking all sorts of questions about Elizabeth’s great grandchild.

“It was like she was totally transformed when she saw his smiling face,” Elizabeth told me over the phone. “It brought her out of herself and she was happy again!”

Elizabeth handed the photo to Arlene and told her to keep it because it seemed to make her so happy. I told Elizabeth that my heart was so warmed in learning about this very sweet exchange.

“You helped her so much by reaching out to her.” I told Elizabeth.

“Well, my little great-grandson helped her without even knowing it!” She said.

As we conversed I also told Elizabeth that I was very proud of her for the way she had transitioned into her new environment (which had come about very suddenly just about a month or so ago).

“And now you are even helping others to feel better!” I said. I wanted her to feel encouragement and affirmation.

Even more JOY…

Even as I write this reflection, I heard from a woman who reached out to me before Christmas begging prayers and feeling very scared. Further testing had been ordered for her after her mammogram had detected a mass in one of her breasts. She had said, “I just received some not so good news and I am really upset.” The poor woman had to wait until after Christmas to go back in to the doctor to check further. I promised my prayers.

I just got word from her that the mass is gone. She explained that the radiologist was very certain that there was no mass evident in the follow up testing.

The woman said, “I claim her [the radiologist] words as healing in Jesus’ name. Thank you Donna so much for all you do for all of us.”

As you can imagine, I am praising God!

God never stops working through our gestures of love and prayer.

Merry Christmas!

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Keeping Kids focused this Advent season

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Are your kids making long Christmas wish lists? Are you trying to figure out ways to get them and to keep them focused on what’s really important?

It might seem like an impossible undertaking, knowing full well that the lopsided messages of the culture are constantly bombarding us. Kids know all about the latest gadgets and toys and exactly where they can be purchased!

Of course, there will always be Christmas wish lists. But, how about making another kind of list this Advent season as well? Sit down with your family and list some things you’d like to do to help others. A wonderful added bonus is that while you’re at it you’ll be growing in your faith life too. Doing Works of Mercy is indeed a win-win situation because when you are helping others you will earn graces for them and for you AND you will grow in holiness when done with a humble heart. God has it all figured out!

And, then, after you’ve made your list, endeavor to carry the acts of love and kidness out during this season of HOPE.

It helps a great deal to pause and take a moment to capture your young ones’ attention. Get them excited about giving and about making crafts and pausing to pray, asking Jesus to come into their hearts more fully this Advent season.

Have a look here for some simple coloring pages to the more elaborate yet not too complicated crafts you can do with your kids to keep them focused on Advent.

Do you have your Advent wreath out? It’s never too late. Well, actually it is if you take it out in February. 🙂 But, don’t worry if it’s not out yet or if you haven’t found replacement candles. Try to work on that as soon as you can. You might find the candles at your local Hallmark store (I have purchased them there) or at a religious store. You can also buy them online. You can have the kids draw a wreath or you can construct one from colored papers if you don’t have an Advent wreath and you can explain what the purpose of the wreath is.

You can take a moment each night all throughout Advent at the dinner table to pray as a family.

How about your creche? Do you have it out and decorated with all of the figurines? You can pause beside it each day to say a family prayer for Advent. Tangible items such as an Advent wreath, a creche, and a Jesse Tree will all help to draw your children’s minds to the holy and off of the secular, even for a time. All efforts to create a holy atmosphere in your home–your domestic church will surely help.

Here’s some wonderful information from EWTN about many Advent and Christmas traditions.

Here’s some information at Catholic Mom. And, some coloring pages here too.

The Catholic Toolbox gives lesson plans for Advent here.

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I love this: Fifty Advent Acts of Kindness and how to orchestrate that in your own household. It even includes real cute stuff to print out and hang up to aid you on your journey of giving with the kids through Advent.

Again, I suggest that you make your own list! It will be a lot of fun to do with the kids. Just sit down and do it! Make your list–maybe not fifty things, but perhaps 25 or even 12. Just write them down and endeavor to do them. It’s as simple as that. Keep the kids focused on Christ’s love by doing charitable Works of Mercy all throughout this holy season!

Well, this was just a few starters for now to get you going. Please share your ideas about how to keep your kids focused on the Advent season and the real reason for this season in the comments below. I’ll also add some more ideas later. Right now I have to get ready to go on the radio and talk about this subject! See you later!

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The NEW ANGELS FOR KIDS is 20% off today! It makes a wonderful Christmas present for children and adults alike.

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The NEW The Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers, and Devotions is 20% off today! It makes a wonderful and inspiring Christmas present.

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AMAZING LOW PRICE of $8.00 ($7.00 off per book!)

 

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CATHOLIC SAINTS PRAYER BOOK (Hard cover edition) Where else but here can you get a book of this quality (sturdy hard cover and beautiful illustrations inside) for only $5.00? Excellent for anyone on your Christmas list–child, adult, man, or woman. I have gifted this book to many a child and many an adult.

Catholic Saints Prayer Book

Inspiration and wisdom from 32 popular saints! Prayers, bios, patronages, and quotes

 

Special paying button: ONLY $5.00 per book!