How to Celebrate Advent with Your Family: Learning from Mary, Joseph, and Jesus
Advent is a special time of year for Christians, as it marks the arrival of the birth of Jesus. Advent derives form the Latin words ad (to) and venire (come). It is a time of preparation, reflection, and anticipation as we await the birth of Jesus Christ. For families, Advent is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the season in a spiritual and communal way. In this article, we will explore how you can celebrate Advent with your family by learning from the examples of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.
Embrace the Waiting
First and foremost, Advent is a time of anticipation. It is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus. Mary and Joseph exemplify this waiting in their own lives. Mary waited for the birth of her Child, knowing that He would be the Savior of the world. Joseph waited patiently as he cared for Mary and prepared for the arrival of their son. As a family, you can embrace this waiting by creating an Advent wreath and lighting a candle each week leading up to Christmas. This simple act of lighting a candle can serve as a reminder to slow down and be present in the moment.
To help anticipate the Birth of the Light of the World, we invite you to The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church’s Festival of Lights, between Nov. 23 and Jan. 7. One of the longest-running Christmas light displays at the Lake of the Ozarks, it is free and open to the public nightly, 5-10 pm. The festival features a stunning display of lights. It’s a beautiful opportunity to come together with family and friends to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. You can click this link to learn more about this wonderful event.
Acts of Charity
Another way to celebrate Advent as a family is to focus on giving back. Jesus was the ultimate gift to the world, and we can honor His birth by giving to others. Find ways to serve your community, whether it be volunteering at a local food bank or participating in a toy drive. You can always become a volunteer at The National Shrine of Mary. Make it a family affair by involving everyone in the process. Talk about why it is important to give back and how it helps to spread the love and joy of the season.
Reflect & Pray
In addition to giving back, Advent is also a time for reflection. Take time as a family to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Read the story of Jesus’ birth together and discuss what it means to each of you. You can also create a Jesse Tree, which is a special tree decorated with symbols that represent the stories leading up to the birth of Jesus. Each day leading up to Christmas, add a new symbol to the tree and discuss the corresponding story.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”The Canticle of Mary. Proclaimed after the Angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to her. Luke 1:46-56
Finally, Advent is a time of celebration. Jesus’ birth is a joyous occasion, and we should celebrate accordingly. Plan special activities as a family, such as baking Christmas cookies or going caroling. Attend a Christmas concert or play. Take time to enjoy the beauty of the season, whether by decorating your home or taking a family walk to admire the lights in your neighborhood. You can also visit The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church for our Festival of Lights celebration each evening from 5-10pm!
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”The angels proclamation at the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:13-14
Create a Memorable Season
Celebrating Advent with your family is a wonderful way to embrace the true meaning of Christmas. By following the examples of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, you can create a meaningful and memorable season for your family. Remember to embrace the waiting, give back to others, reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, and celebrate with joy. And don’t forget to visit the National Shine of Mary, Mother of the Church and check out our event page to discover what is happening, such as the Festival of Lights. May your Advent season be filled with love, peace, and joy.
We invite you to visit the National Shine of Mary, Mother of the Church, and check out our event page to discover what is happening this Advent season. We have many events, such as the Festival of Lights and Masses.
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a variety of Advent resources, including daily reflections, prayers, and activities for families: https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year-and-calendar/advent
- Catholic News Service offers an article on sacrificing excitement to make the wait of Advent more holy: https://www.osvnews.com/2023/11/19/sacrificing-excitement-to-make-the-wait-of-advent-more-holy/
- This website offers 8 ways to help children prepare for Advent: https://www.teachingcatholickids.com/8-practical-ways-to-get-ready-for-advent/
- Fr Michael Schmitz offers a reflection on Advent and how we can best prepare for the coming of Jesus: https://media.ascensionpress.com/video/the-true-meaning-of-advent/