Are You Ready for Advent?

Truth be told, I’m not. I usually dig out the Advent wreath well after Thanksgiving and the start of Advent, and we don’t light it every day.  I confess we’ve been uneven in our use of a Jesse tree.

Does it count that for the last few years, I have gotten the kids a Trader Joe’s chocolate calendar and they open a door every day of December?

I thought not.  

I know Advent is a great time of preparation, so I’m hoping for better success this year.

Here are some new books in case you, too, might need some fresh ideas to make Advent a time of joyful preparation:

*Father Gary Caster, a priest of the diocese of Peoria, has a new St. Therese-inspired book out:   The Little Way of Advent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Father Caster’s latest book, like his previous title The Little Way of Lent, provides for each day (in this case, of Advent) a Scripture passage, a reflection and a little quote from St. Therese.  For those who love Father Caster’s preaching style and his prolific writing, The Little Way of Advent does not disappoint.

(Go here to read my Q&A with Father around the time that I reviewed The Little Way of Lent).

*A Catholic Family Advent: Prayers and Activities by Susan Hines-Brigger offers family-centric activities, reflections and Scripture for each day of Advent.  I especially liked the “talk together” portion to spark conversation, perhaps around the dinner table, before lighting the aforementioned Advent wreath.

*Lisa Hendey has a slim new volume O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath, with short, very do-able reflections for most, and also some for younger children, for each day of the Advent season.

*Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Vincent de Paul by John E. Rybolt, provides short reflections and quotes from the writings of St. Vincent de Paul, particularly focusing on the saint’s reputation as “the Apostle of Charity.”

The above appeared in this weekend’s edition of The Catholic Post on the book page.  Even as I wrote it, I began to realize that our family does “do” Advent a wee bit better than just the Trader Joe’s chocolate calendar.  And does it not surprise you that the way we excel at keeping Advent and Christmastime is through books?

So in addition to trying to make some of these new books part of my Advent tradition, I also plan to take a look (as we get closer to Advent) at some of our favorite classic Advent/Christmas books–including many picture books–that might help you keep Advent well, too.  Watch for a special series of posts as Advent draws closer.