"I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”
I am excited to read the post of other participants in this blog carnival!!! How is it like for others?
As for me, every year is an attempt to bring Christ into my Christmas celebration, I hope, I move a little closer to Him and I bring our family a little closer to Him every time we celebrate His birthday. In all the hectic glitz and jingle the season brings, to make room for Jesus Christ is absolutely possible. To make Jesus Christ the center of it all is a struggle for me.
I did not grow up with Advent Prayers and candles for Christmas. I was married and in my early 20s when I found out there is such a thing as the Season of Advent and the priest was just not feeling festive thus the sudden pink in his outfit. I am Catholic all my life, so imagine my eyebrows meeting and my heart swelling when I learned of Advent while chatting with a friend!
I make sure my children know the Season of Advent not just Christmas Day. We come up with Advent Candles every year. I plan out our Christmas activities: decorating, gift wrapping, gift giving (thanks to my eldest daughter, we now have a family Christmas exchange gift tradition, 8 years on going now), deliveries, baking, parties, Christmas recitals, Christmas bazaar and family prayer time. This year is an extra challenge for our family prayer time, but we manage, despite our time difference and distance, thanks to skype.
Here we are with our Advent Candles right after praying the Angelus. Its 4 pm where I am with my
two younger children and its 8 am in London where my husband and 2 older children are.
When it comes to decorations I keep the theme simple- focus on the reason for the season/ the birthday boy! The Nativity is the highlight of our home. Decorating for Christmas is a family activity in our home. I saved up a lot of money by doing away with the elaborate Christmas tree and other Christmas decoration. Everybody in the house helps with the decorating (I hope my children remember this fondly, this year we did some painting. you can read about it here).
I keep the little baby Jesus of our Nativity until Christmas morning. When my children see that the baby Jesus is in the manger, it means we can open our gifts. We also put our gifts around the Nativity since we do not have a Christmas Tree.
I wish that years from now, my children will remember the Christmas of their childhood joyfully laced with faith, love, generosity, trust, hope and truth. I hope that in my mundane efforts, I am able to relate Christmas with humility, generosity, of security in uncertain times, of provisions in times of need, of a helpless infant born in a filthy place who had/ has all the love to give, of a young woman more than a thousand years ago, who said yes to a massage from an angel. Every year is struggle to make Jesus the center of all our merry making busyness. To have an open heart to adore a baby, who is Jesus Christ, who loves all including people I do not like.
One activity I also want to do for myself and with my family is to complete the 9 days of Simbang Gabi and finally, Misa de Gallo. As a child I thought is as an activity for old people simply because they can wake up early because they do not know how to party and they do not have school. I guess I am old now or getting there for sure. Oh will I get to do this next year? I would like to know who has done this and get some encouragement. How did you do it? Any tips and advise will be a Christmas Gift to me. Thank you for dropping by. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Here are the other blog posts, Enjoy:
The Diary of a Sower: Keeping Christ in Christmas (link not working yet)