A Look at Advent in Our Home

Last Sunday we began the holy season of Advent.  Today I’ll offer a few thoughts and ideas on what works for our family to keep this season holy and prayerful.

Our family begins this season with Confession and Adoration. While we never quit going to Confession throughout the year, our family has taken a three-month hiatus from Adoration, as we were into the chaotic business of packing and moving and switching parishes. Now that that’s over, it is our top priority to get back to a weekly holy hour, beginning this week.

This is a difficult thing, however, as we feel strongly that not only my husband and I ought to have an hour, but that all those children who have received First Holy Communion should too. So, we just have to make it a priority, which sometimes means saying no to other things, while also getting creative.

My hour will be during the evening and by myself, as I’m home all day and need a break. My husband’s hour, however, will be in the morning before work, and he’ll take the four older children with him. This is doable because after the holy hour, two of the children will walk over to their school, one will join her home-school coop, which happens to be at our parish, and the last remaining child will get picked up by me.

Is this complicated?  Yes.  But it is worth it.  Prayer is the most important thing we can make time for. It is our top priority, and we want our children to spend time with our Blessed Lord.

Advent Prayer Intentions

This Advent we will be of course offering prayers for our Church, but also specifically for our son who suffers from migraines. Lately they’ve become more intense and debilitating, which landed us back at his neurologist’s office. After an MRI, we discovered that he has a Chiari I Malformation, which is fancy talk for the lower brain extending too far into the spinal cord.

We don’t know if this is causing his migraines, so we’ll be traveling to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis to have a specialized, pediatric neurologist examine him. We hope to find some answers. And if you think of it, please pray for him.

And now the Fun Stuff

Of course we’ll be lighting our Advent wreath every evening at dinner. The children love this because we shut all the lights off, light the candle, and sing two verses of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Then my husband prays the Vespers Responsory and the Magnificat Antiphons, with the O Antiphons being the last seven days of Advent. It’s beautiful.

As many of you also do, we have our nativity set out too. Well, just the stable, shepherds, Drummer Boy, and the animals, as Mary and Joseph are traveling. We put Mary and Joseph somewhere else in the house and move them closer to the nativity set every few days or so. We also make sure to place the nativity set on our lower fireplace ledge, so that the children can easily play with it all season long.

And for school? During Midmorning Prayer Time, our hymns will reflect the season. Our favorite is On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry. And we’ll be listening the Benedictines of Mary Advent at Ephesus during all hours of the day!.

I pray your season of Advent may be prayerful and fruitful!

Kim Heilman and her husband live in the cold, cold north where they are raising seven children.  She is a stay-at-home mom and is thankful for such things as coffee, wine, and the Catholic Church.  Her conversion story may be found in Ascension Press's Amazing Grace for Families book.  She also blogs at Musings From the Home.