Heartfelt and Handmade: The Value of Story in Our Family’s Advent

To live the meaning of “prepare.” The meaning of “wait.”

A tradition as simple as the lighting of the stately lavender tapers, ring of purples and pink, each boy eagerly anticipating leading the nightly prayer. Or reciting the scripture verse. And do they ever read this verse with care, as their first Advent morning utterances refer to who lights or reads or conducts the prayers on this ice-kissed, tree-glowing, soft, warm evening.

Bible readings, daily, while creating, coloring and hanging heartfelt, handmade ornaments on our Jesse Tree. Crayolas, green and red ribbon spools, shreds of construction paper swirls, splayed, amid Jesus’s family tree. Our family tree. Intensity around these people, these every day heroes of our Faith. These people from whom we draw strength and courage and knowledge.  Some trusted God implicitly and from the beginning. Some turned their backs on God. All were forgiven by God.

The ways in which to connect our faith to our families’ daily lives during this liturgical season, any liturgical season, really, are plentiful…and often illuminated by our children, who at times, infer the obvious, with an ease that we, as parents, can miss, in our zeal for planning “just the right” lesson or connecting “the most perfect” piece of literature with a feast day or a saint study we are undertaking.

There are stories, Bible stories, fiction, that my family has not only read, but lived and “tried on.” They are staples and they have led to more discussion, more depth, more meaning than I can describe, than I can contain. Afternoons of discussion around one passage? Yes. And isn’t it wonderful? Meaningful. Life altering. Life enhancing.

In C.S. Lewis’s classic jewel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, doubtless, the quintessential allegorical portrayal of Christ’s valor and divinity, the stirring parallels between the tenets of our faith and the characterization and setting in the tale foster deep study for every age. Isn’t it exciting when our kids immediately connect the characters—the four children to the four writers of the Gospel?  Or when they relate the selfless acts of courage and humility, laced with strength of character by the hero, Aslan, to the essence of Salvation?

And what kid wouldn’t find the untamed Herdmanns in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever an absolute scream?  What’s better than listening to your seven year old ruminate on Imogene’s bold questioning?  “You know, she makes good points Mom!” Which of course, cause him to add Herod to the family’s running timeline of world leaders and events, after doing some reading up on this “bad guy,” wondering, “Yeah, who he was anyway?”

This Advent, let us allow the Holy Spirit to guide. This Advent, let us watch. Let us all be blessed with the guidance to slow. To wait.  To immerse in the story of our Faith.  To watch for our Lord. For He can be found in the most surprising and the most mundane of places.

He authors our destiny. He gives strength. He is the Reason.

A homeschooling mom and Faith and Family life columnist at Mater et Magistra magazine and www.catholicmom.com, Christine has also had several pieces published within collections, most recently Stories for a Homeschool Heart and God Moments II. Chris lives in New York with her husband and their two lively boys who continuously color their lives with an unbridled enthusiasm for theater, travel and all things action/adventure! Despite holding two degrees in Education and teaching for over a dozen years, she maintains that the most meaningful learning happens at home, within the heart of the family. Please visit her blog at

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