Advent dawns upon us and once again we begin our journey of patient waiting for the arrival of Christmas – which can be a special challenge and struggle for children and young people, but also for adults.
The culture decorates for Christmas even before Halloween is over. The Hallmark Channel began showing Christmas movies with its countdown to Christmas on October 24. Holiday displays and advertisements for toys began circulating at the same time, and the Amazon toy catalog came in my mailbox in mid-October!
This year, Santa is showing up in our homes for virtual visits the day after Thanksgiving. With all this rush to commercialize the season, I often get the question, “How do we get across to our children that the real reason for the Christmas season is the birth of Jesus?”
Let me introduce you to one of my all- time favorite Christmas tales, Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki. In this sweet picture book, children will discover the true meaning of Christmas as Santa Claus retells the story of the first Christmas. When Santa Claus tells the forest animals that he is not looking forward to delivering all those heavy packages, they are worried that there won’t be a Christmas anymore. To help everyone understand that Christmas would still come even if he didn’t deliver presents, Santa tells the story of the first Christmas, and they all learn a good lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
If you would like to order this book for your family you can purchase it at your favorite bookstore for under $9. Or if you prefer, you can find a video of someone reading the book on YouTube. A link is included below.
All this early holiday saturation, in addition to the stress and worry about the pandemic, can affect all of us. Perhaps this year, more than any before, we need to take this Advent season to dive deeper in prayer, receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, and slow down to reflect on the meaning behind this special liturgical season.
For us to appreciate Christmas, we need to take time to prepare and journey through Advent before we can celebrate the gift of the newborn Christ. To support you in doing this, the Office of Faith Events is offering a virtual Diocesan Advent Mission. It will take place the first three Thursdays in December at 7 P.M. and focus on three of the themes of Advent: Patience, Love and Peace.
On December 3 we will look at patient waiting; December 10, will focus on ways love is coming into our lives and our world, and on December 17 we will consider the various aspects of peace in our lives, homes, hearts and world. Each evening we will watch a reflective video related to the evening’s theme, have discussions, and contemplate what God calls us to do in preparation for the birth of His son within the context of our lived realities. There is no cost to participate in the Advent Mission, but registration is required. You can do so by emailing Marianne Nicholas at email@example.com or calling her at 860-848-2237, 304.
We hope you will join us for this spiritually enriching mission experience without ever having to leave the comfort of your homes.
By Liza Roach