Advent offers wealth of Family Activity opportunities
By Greg Hartman
The Catholic Telegraph
This time of year offers many chances to grow in faith. Here are suggested Family Life activities for December and the surrounding time.
The first advent snow: The weather may not cooperate with this endeavor, but on the evening of the first snow of Advent, take some time as a family to take a walk and let the beauty of a snowy evening touch your heart. Immerse the family in moments of silence and prayer. View the white canvas and imagine that canvas as God’s clean slate. Connect that moment with a parish advent reconciliation service where we are graced with God’s mercy and kindness.
During Advent: Take some time each day to inventory your Catholic vocation! Each member of the family can reflect on their station as disciples. How are we as a family sharing God’s joy and evangelizing to those around us? What can we do to be disciples of Christ? Perhaps on social media we can share our journey during Advent. While preparations for Christmas can be trying at times, December is a great month to reflect on the past year and look to the future.
Christmastime music: Have each member share their favorite Christmas Hymn during the holidays. As a family, sing each song the family member has chosen, or simply play the song and let music, as it so often does, tug at our heartstrings!
Dec. 3: St. Francis Xavier’s feast day. Have the family pray for our missionaries from the archdiocese spreading the Gospel. Another activity may to make Christmas cards to send to our missionaries throughout the world. For more information, contact the archdiocesan Mission Office.
Dec. 6: The Feast of St. Nicholas. Take some time to learn about St. Nicholas and have a family member report about St. Nicholas’s life. This may be a good Saturday to collect food and send to a local food pantry, or collect treats for those in need. Perhaps you could contact an inner-city parish and do a project with that parish as a family.
Dec. 8: As a family, say a rosary for the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For the joyful mysteries, reflect on the Annunciation and how that changed the world, and remember those family and friends who are about to have a child. Think about helping those in need during a reflection on the Visitation, perhaps reach out to someone we haven’t visited in a while. Think of the total joy of the Nativity, the presence of Christ in our lives! The Presentation is a chance to reflect on our church, the joy of Mass and the sacraments. At the finding in the Temple, we can reflect as a family those moments when we’re lost on our faith journey, and how to find our way back to the joy God as intended for us to experience.
Dec. 12: The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Celebrate on this Friday with a dinner that has a Mexican or Latin American theme. You may want to find a candle of Our Lady of Guadalupe and have the family make a centerpiece for the table. Have a family member read the story of Juan Diego.
Dec. 25: During the Christmas season, find a live Nativity and have the family visit and ponder the miracles of Christmas. Many parishes and civic organizations throughout the archdiocese have these displays. You may want to read the Gospel narrative before or while visiting to bring Christmas alive in our hearts.
Dec. 28: The feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Though this is a busy time of year, plan one-hour unplugged, and take time with family to celebrate each member. Have each person take a few minutes to tell other family members what they mean to them. Wrap up the unplugged hour with a prayer of thanksgiving for your family.
This Family Life Activities feature originally appeared in the December 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.