Christkindl and Other Advent-y Things by Maria von Trapp (And The Winner of the St. Zelie Rosary and Veil is…..)

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family

After our first gathering around the Advent light, and the singing of the first Advent hymn, an air of expectancy spreads over the family group; now comes the moment when the mother goes around with a bowl in which are the little cards with the names of the new saints.

Everybody draws a card and puts it in his missal. This saint will be invoked every morning after Morning Prayer. Everyone is supposed to look up and study the life story of his new friend, and sometime during the coming year he will tell the family all about it.

As there are so many of us, we come to know about different saints every year. Sometimes this calls for considerable research on the part of the unfortunate one who has drawn St. Eustachius, for instance, or St. Bibiana.

But the custom has become very dear to us, and every year it seems as if the family circle were enlarged by all those new brothers and sisters entering in and becoming known and loved by all.

And then comes another exciting moment. Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around. This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in great secrecy.

The person whose name one has drawn is now in one’s special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can. One has to provide at least one surprise every single day—but without ever being found out.

This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up.

This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child) in the old country, where children believe that the Christmas tree and the gifts under it are brought down by the Christ Child himself.

The beautiful thing about this particular custom is that the relationship is a reciprocal one. The person whose name I have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing these many little acts of love and consideration for someone in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem, according to the word, “And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.”

That is why this particular person turns into “my Christkindl.” At the same time I am the “Christkindl” also for the one I am caring for because I want to imitate the Holy Child and render all those little services in the same spirit as He did in that small house of Nazareth, when as a child He served His Mother and His foster father with a similar love and devotion.

Many times throughout these weeks can be heard such exclamations as, “I have a wonderful Christkindl this year!” or, “Goodness, I forgot to do something for my Christkindl and it is already suppertime!”

It is a delightful custom, which creates much of the true Christmas spirit and ought to be spread far and wide.

And there is still one very important thing to do for Advent. According to Austrian custom, every member of the family writes a letter to the Holy Child mentioning his resolutions for the weeks of Advent and listing all his wishes for gifts. This “Christkindl Brief” (letter to the Holy Child) is put on the window sill, from whence the Guardian Angel will take it up to heaven to read it aloud to the Holy Child.

To make small children (and older ones, too) aware of the happy expectancy of Advent, there is a special Advent calendar which clever hands can make at home.

It might be a house with windows for each day of Advent; every morning the child opens another window, behind which appears a star, an angel, or some other picture appropriate to the season.

On the 23rd, all windows are open, but the big entrance door still is closed. That is opened on Christmas Eve, when it reveals the Holy Child in the manger, or a Christmas tree.

All kinds of variations on this theme are possible, such as the Jacob’s Ladder shown on our illustration, which leads step by step to the day of Christ’s birth. All such little aids make Christmas more wonderful and “special” to a child, and preparing them adds to our own Christmas joy.

{Advent Calendar: Take piece of cardboard; cut out clouds, leaving them attached at one point so that they can fold out. Cut spaces in ladder as on insert so that they can fold down. Take transparent paper same size as cardboard. Paint and draw pictures of stars, angels, toys, etc. on spots behind clouds and ladder steps. For top cloud, put Christmas tree or Christ Child in crib. Paste this on back of calendar. Each day another cloud or ladder step should be opened, until Christmas Eve is reached on top of ladder.}

 
“Where on earth shall we find Jesus but in the arms of Mary! Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist? It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during His mortal life, and that he continues in the Eucharist.” -St. Peter Julian Eymard,
Painting by Nellie Edwards, www.PaintedFaith.net

Thank you all so much for the kind and encouraging comments on the Giveaway Post! Hearing from you, knowing that the work put into this site is helpful, means very much to me. May God bless you all! And now…

The Winner of the Giveaway is…….

Brandi M. (Cathmom)!!

Congratulations, Brandi! I have sent you an email.

Are you blessed by this site? Consider donating today. Our benefactors are remembered in our daily, family rosaries….

Need a unique gift for Christmas? Take a peek at my Holiday Package Deal!

Catholic Mother Goose, Volumes One and Two!

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Delicious Christmas teas…. I love this brand of tea! What a great Christmas gift idea!


This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Living Advent and Christmas With Intention

Here we are, a little over two weeks before Christmas. Busy times are ahead!

This is our reminder to stop and smell …. the evergreens and the cinnamon along the way!

Our traditions and customs are important. My daughter, Theresa and I made a video about all the Advent Customs we do in our homes. They keep us busy! And, in the last couple of weeks things will ramp up with baking, wrapping gifts, decorating our home and tree, etc. These things ARE important…after all, Jesus, Our Lord, is coming! Oh yes!

In this hubbub, I want to remind you (and me) of something my mom drove home to me over the years….that “people are more important than things”…and schedules…and work, etc.

One time my mom was in the attic with her mom, my Grandma. Grandma was going through an old trunk that had some special “treasures” kept through the years. Grandma’s family was poor; they had nine children and lived in an old farmhouse. Grandma’s eyes began to fill with tears as she stroked a piece of pretty material found in the timeworn chest.

She said, “I wish I had given this material to your sister when she asked for it years ago. I thought I would use it some day…it was too pretty to hand over to her. She wanted so bad to practice her sewing. And now she is married and moved out…and I missed that opportunity.”

It was just a little thing…but a great lesson to remember….

Don’t lose sight of the people you love. Don’t put them on the back burner.

This last week we were very much reminded of this lesson. My husband is involved in a health and wellness business. He had just gone to a business meeting in September, met the owner and was greatly impressed. He said he reminded him of his dad. They took a picture together.

This week we found out that this same man, his brother (the founders of the business), their dad and six of their sons/sons-in-laws, along with a grandson died in an airplane crash coming back from a pheasant hunting trip! What a blow! What a tragedy!

The family that was left behind did not know that last year’s Christmas was the last one they would ever have with them.  Please pray for the Hansen family…I firmly believe we were led to them for the short time we’ve known them,  so we can pray for their souls.

We also never know the time nor the hour when one of our family or friends will be called. Not that we are to live in fear…but this is a reminder…let’s live with intention….and don’t take your loved ones for granted among the busy-ness of the season!

Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.

You will never have this day again. You will never cross this moment of time again. Use it wisely.

What are some little ways you can make this a reality?

Stop what you are doing and greet your husband when he comes home, listen to him even if you’re busy with holiday preparations.

Have dinner ready, if you can. Let him know he is special.

Look and listen, really listen, when your child is talking to you.

Read them a Christmas bedtime story…make this a habit.

Let them bake cookies with you…in spite of the mess and the fact that it would be easier to do it on your own. What child doesn’t like to sit on the counter, legs dangling, while holding the mixer or cracking the eggs!? (Be ready to fish out the eggshells!)

Train yourself to see the positive in those you rub shoulders with each day. It will have its effiects, I guarantee!

Do you have an elderly parent you need to spend time with? Do it! Do you have a difficult sibling that you find it hard to be kind to? Be kind!

Yes, we will do our baking, our wrapping, our tree….but let’s not get too wound up! Let’s not take on so much that we are totally stressed out. Not worth it.

Fr. Jacque Philippe:

“I often say jokingly that the ladder of perfection has only one step: the step we take today.

Without concerning ourselves about the past or the future, we can decide to believe today, place all our trust in God today, love God and neighbor today.

Whether our good resolutions produce success or failure, next day we can begin again, not relying on our strength but only on God’s faithfulness.”

Life happens in the moments. If we take on way too much we get frustrated. Then the daily things…reading a story, wiping a nose, listening to others, is done begrudgingly.

Remember these little things are the ones that make memories, create atmosphere and build relationships.

One last thing from St. Francis de Sales (who doesn’t love this quote?!)

“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself…do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.”

Advent is a new season of the Church. Every time we pick ourselves up, it is a new season. Don’t ever get discouraged.

So…this Advent and Christmas live with intention. And remember, Ladies, that your life as a homemaker is very important. And your joyful presence in the home is more important than any of the presents under the tree!

Each day is a chance to grow in virtue and it begins with the little things. Show your husband you care…listen to him, smile at him, give him a hug when he doesn’t expect it. Your children are watching and courtesy and love are contagious! This Advent can be special…. it starts with you! -Finer Femininity

Our attitude changes our life…it’s that simple. Our good attitude greatly affects those that we love, making our homes a more cheerier and peaceful dwelling! To have this control…to be able to turn around our attitude is a tremendous thing to think about!
This Gratitude Journal is here to help you focus on the good, the beautiful, the praiseworthy. “For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 – Douay Rheims).
Yes, we need to be thinking of these things throughout the day!
You will be disciplined, the next 30 days, to write positive, thankful thoughts down in this journal. You will be thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people you are grateful for, lovely and thought-provoking Catholic quotes, thoughts before bedtime, etc. Saying it, reading it, writing it, all helps to ingrain thankfulness into our hearts…and Our Lord so loves gratefulness! It makes us happier, too!
Available here.

Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.

You’ll learn how to grow in wisdom and in love as you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages. As the author says: If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day the precious bits of wool she s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.

This remarkable book will show you how to start weaving love into the tapestry of your marriage today, as it leads you more deeply into the joys of love.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Stable, St. Nicholas Day, Charlotte, Tids ‘n’ Bits…. A Gallery

Still at home, besties ….Hannah, Rosie, Angelo, Margy, Gemma

Beware….You are about to have a photo overload! I had my phone ready this year and so…..pictures! I thought you’d enjoy them…Click on the first picture to view the gallery…

The Reason For Christmas Presents and the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th

From The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

Why are we making gifts for each other two, three, four weeks ahead of time? Working as hard as we can to make something beautiful? To wrap it beautifully? To tie it beautifully? To think of something full of love to write on the card that goes with it? Because we know that Christmas is coming.

That Jesus should become man and save us from our sins is more than good reason to prepare, to anticipate. We want everything to be perfect for Jesus and for our beloveds when Christmas comes.

Just so, God the Father prepared for the coming of Jesus. He prepared for His divine Son a perfect Mother through whom He could come into the world.

This is how He prepared: God the Father knew that when the time came, from our Lord’s death on the Cross would flow graces that would never end, that would make it possible for Godlike powers to be given to men.

For example, He knew that our Lord would institute a sacrament through which grace would come to wash away the Original Sin inherited from Adam and Eve, and to fill the soul with marvelous beauty where God Himself could dwell.

In creating a Mother for His Son, God used this grace ahead of time – not to wash away Original Sin but to make a Mother whose soul was untouched by Original Sin.

This is what we mean when we speak of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, the name she used for herself when at last she told St. Bernadette who she was.

God does not live in time. He invented time for us so that we could keep track of ourselves, but He has no need of it, and in the foreverness of Heaven, He used all the magnificent graces His divine Son poured forth from His death on the Cross in time to merit for our Lady a perfect soul from the instant He breathed it into being.

That is why, when Gabriel came to her in Nazareth, he could say, “Hail, full of grace….” That is why, when Mary went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth could cry out, “Blessed art thou among women….”

This does not mean that our Lady was conceived in a miraculous manner, as her divine Son was conceived.

She was born of the lawful union of Joachim and Anne, loving husband and wife. It does mean that at the moment the seed of life that was to become our Lady was united to her immortal soul, it was to a soul God had created perfect.

Our Lady was made immaculate so that when the time came for the plan of the Redemption to unfold, her pure and holy body would be a perfect resting place wherein the love of God – His Holy Spirit – would breathe and His divine Son would begin to live. This beautiful doctrine explained to the children on the vigil of her feast will help form the spirit in which the entire family will assist at the Mass in her honor and receive Holy Communion.

The great Advent mysteries in the life of our Lady relate in many ways to the knowledge we must give our children about their bodies.

Now we see again why we must have reverence and awe for our bodies. They are made for great and holy things.

All the little girls in the world who will grow up to discover that God’s will for them is to be wives and mothers will, as mothers, carry their babies the way our Lady carried her baby.

Every mother we see who is expecting a baby can remind us of our Lady. It is so good of God to have His Son come to us this way, and so sanctify the bearing of babies.

He could have come in thunder and lightning. He could have come like a wild storm riding the sun, driving the moon and the stars before Him.

But, loving us in our littleness and our struggles and our pains and worries, He chose to be like us in all things save sin, so that we would always know that God knows what it is like to be a man.

If we have children for whom it is time to learn something of the way babies are born, Advent is an especially appropriate time to continue with that part of sex instruction.

This carrying of babies within the mother’s body, is it not beautiful? This is how our Lady carried her Baby, close to her heart, protected and sheltered there by her own pure body. This delivering of babies, as we call it – the emergence of the baby from his mother’s body – is it not wonderful? It is God’s way.

He decided it was to be like this. If there were a finer way for it to be, He would have it be that way.

“Let us pray tonight and ask our Lady to help us have reverence for our bodies, and for the bodies of others, and never to do anything with them God does not want us to do.” These things and a host of others relating to the meaning and spirit of Advent make beautiful, rich, prayerful conversations that go with the making of gifts.

Some are for parent and child alone, some for the group; both ways, the treasury to explore is inexhaustible.

Visit Finer Femininity on Facebook
Be attentive to the sacrifices your husband makes for the family. Each day he battles the world, the flesh and the devil out in the workforce for you. Don’t let that go unnoticed. Thank him often! Appreciate him.
A sermon for you today:
Our Lady trusted in God & kept Him on her mind all the time. She is the greatest follower of Christ.

Coloring pages for your children…. (click on picture to get full view)

Sign up for the Giveaway on this post. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, De. 10th!

In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Feast of St. Nicholas with Recipes and Songs

Saint Nicholas has been for hundreds of years a popular saint in the East and in the West, greatly famed as a worker of miracles. There are many charming legends concerning him.

One tells of an occasion in heaven when all the saints came together to talk and to drink a little wine. Saint Basil filled the golden cups from the golden jug, and everyone was deep in conversation when it was noticed that Saint Nicholas was nodding. One of the blessed nudged him until he awoke, and asked why he was slumbering in such good company.

“Well, you see,” he told them, “the enemy has raised a fearful storm in the Aegean. My body was dozing perhaps, but my spirit was bringing the ships safe to shore.”

Saint Nicholas is the saint of mariners and also of bankers, pawnbrokers, scholars, and thieves! But he is especially the saint of children, and is known among them in various countries as Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel.

There have even been invented servants to accompany him and to deal with the children who have been bad.

Saint Nicholas is considered too kind to give scoldings and punishments, so, in Austria Krampus, in Germany Knecht Rupprecht, and in Holland, Black Peter goes along with him, armed with a stout switch, while Saint Nicholas himself simply gives and gives.

Another very old legend tells us of the saint’s kindness to the three daughters of a poor nobleman. They were about to be sold into slavery, because they had no dowry, when Saint Nicholas stole to their home and on three nights in succession dropped a bag of gold down the chimney. This is said to explain why three balls are the pawnbrokers’ sign and why the saint drops gifts for children down the chimney.

Devotion to Saint Nicholas began in Asia Minor, where he was a bishop, and it was brought to Russia by an emperor who was witness to some of his miraculous works. It spread through Lapland and into Scandinavia, to other European countries, and finally to America.

Up to that time Saint Nicholas had been pictured as a lean and ascetic bishop. In America, he became fat and jolly, and his miter was turned into a winter cap, his vestments into a snow suit. But he has kept his reindeer from Lapland, his propensity for chimneys acquired in Asia Minor, and the generosity of his heart.

A French legend tells that long ago Our Lady gave Lorraine to Saint Nicholas as a reward for his kindness to the world. He is still the special patron of that province and on his eve children hang up their stocking, saying:

Saint Nicolas, mon bon patron Envoyez-moi quelqu’ chose de bon.

In Holland Saint Nicholas puts in an appearance on the eve of his feast. As the children sing, the door flies open and on the floor drop candies and nuts–right on a white sheet that has been spread out just in case.

And after he has gone, there is hot punch and chocolate and boiled chestnuts served with butter and sugar. And in the morning, children find in the shoes they have set before the fire toys and many other good things–candy hearts and spice cakes, “letterbankets,” which were candies or cakes in the form of the child’s initials, ginger cakes or “taai-taai” in patterns of birds and fish and the form of the saint himself. He also brings a hard cooky, called “Speculaus.”

Speculaus

1/2 cup butter 2-1/2 cups cake flour 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 egg 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 lemon rind, grated 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg, and continue beating. Add the grated lemon rind and the flour sifted with the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Let the dough rest overnight in a cool place. Roll out as thinly as possible– about the thickness of the back of a knife blade. Cut into desired shape and bake at 350 degrees F. for fifteen to twenty minutes.

In Switzerland Saint Nicholas parades the streets, his arms full of red apples, cookies, and prunes for the children who crowd to him. In Austria and Germany he throws gilded nuts in at the door while Rupprecht and Krampus, the spoilsports, throw in a few birch twigs.

In Poland if there is a red sunset on Saint Nicholas’ Day, it is because the angels are busily baking the Saint’s Honey Cakes.

Ciastka Miodowe (Honey Cakes)

1/2 cup honey 1 teaspoon soda 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 egg yolks 1/4 teaspoon cloves 4 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Warm the honey slightly and combine with the sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Sift the flour with the soda and spices and stir into the honey batter thoroughly. Let the dough rest overnight. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out with a cooky cutter. Brush with the slightly beaten white of an egg, press half a blanched almond into each cooky and bake at 375 degrees F. for about fifteen minutes.

Songs:

Below is two renditions of the St. Nicholas song courtesy of the St. Nicholas Center. I always liked the tune of Jolly Old St. Nicholas but the words are silly. So here is a chance to sing it with some good words!

Song 1:

Saint Nicholas Song
Song tells the story of Saint Nicholas

Thankful Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
when he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
Rich folk came to Nicholas,
Bringing wealth to share,
so it could be sent to those living in despair.

Three maidens husbands could not find,
their father was so poor;
No dowry was available, to tempt a suitor’s lore.
Word came to youthful Nicholas,
who acted in good taste,
In darkness threw three bags of gold,
retreating in great haste.

Zealous Bishop Nicholas,
born in Pa-tar-a,
Was the Bishop of My-ra
in times of great trial.
Who suffered prison for his faith,
Through torture still held firm,
Released by Constantine the Great,
to My-ra he returned.

Holy Bishop Nicholas,
The sailors patron saint,
saved the storm-tossed mariners
from a salty fate.
Who at Nicea formed the creed—
but jail became his fate,
He punched a pastor in the jaw,
so heated the debate.

Patron Saint of children,
Saint Nicholas did become,
giving gifts at Christmas time,
a special act of love.
His style was different from his peers,
as they would often see,
“Give to the truley needy ones
with a-non-ym-i-tee.”

Gentle Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
When he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
We too must always seek to share,
our means with those in need,
God help us imitate this saint,
on Advent winter eves.

Song 2:

The Song of St. Nicholas
To the tune of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”

Once upon a long ago
Very far away,
In the town of Bethlehem
Lying in some hay,
Jesus came for you and me
Bringing heaven’s love
As a gift for us to have
From the Lord above.

In the town of Myra once
Also long ago,
Lived good Bishop Nicholas
Hair as white as snow.
Nicholas loved Jesus who
Loved and helped us all.
“I will do the same,” said he
“Helping great and small.”

Thankful Bishop Nicholas
Friendly, good and wise;
When he could, helped the poor
Always by surprise.
Rich men came to Nicholas
Bringing wealth to share
So it could be sent to those
Living in despair.

We should be like Nicholas
Thankful, good and kind,
Loving those who need our help
All the ones we find.
Jesus and Saint Nicholas
Taught us how to give:
Share but never seek rewards,
That is how to live!

“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. MIller

Sign up for the Giveaway on this post!

A great Christmas gift idea… The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.

Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6th – St. Nicholas vs Santa Claus

Tags

, ,

St. Nicholas Day has always been a special day around here. We often would have a puppet show, inviting the cousins or grandchildren over to join in the fun. But even if that wasn’t on the “menu” we made sure and had our stockings ready to be filled!

Here is the link to the Puppet Show.

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

On December 6 comes the feast of the Christmas saint, St. Nicholas, although most of our celebration of this feast comes on his vigil, December 5.

We find a puppet show a delightful way to tell his story, explain his relation to the Christ Child, and introduce the hanging of stockings for his feast day.

St. Nicholas was really a Turk born in Asia Minor. For a long time he was Bishop of Myra (near the southern coast of Turkey to the right of the Island of Rhodes – in case you look for it on a map).

An orphan, he grew in love of God, became a priest, and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to venerate the places of our Lord’s life.

On the voyage, a terrible storm threatened to sink the ship, but by his prayers all were saved.

For this reason he is venerated as patron of boatmen, fishermen, dock workmen, and sailors.

Returning to his native land, he was made a bishop; his generosity and love for the poor and for children, as well as his many miracles, endeared him to Christian people all over the world.

He is also venerated as the patron of scholars, coopers and brewers, travelers and pilgrims, those who have unjustly lost a lawsuit, and as patron and annual benefactor of schoolchildren (especially boys), and is invoked against robbers and (in Holland) for protection of seafaring men.

Many legends surround St. Nicholas, among them the one saint story I personally cannot abide: the tale of the three little boys murdered and salted down in a tub is too much.’ We never tell it.

The story we like best is the well-known tale of the three marriageable daughters who were nevertheless unmarriageable for want of dowries. Hearing of their plight, the saint went silently by their house one night and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the oldest, who not long after found a husband for herself with no trouble at all.

Then he crept by a second time and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the second daughter, who likewise was suddenly at no loss for suitors.

As he was about to toss the gold through the window for the third daughter, the father of the girls caught sight of him.

Throwing himself at his feet, he thanked him, confessed his sins, begged his blessing. Plainly it is from this story that the tradition has grown wherein St. Nicholas is said to leave gifts, candies, and sweets on windowsills, in shoes, and even in the stockings of good little children.

It is the Dutch diminutive Sinter Klaas (“Sant Nikolaas”) that became, by way of the New Amsterdam Dutch, the familiar American Santa Claus.

It is among the Dutch also that we find the appearance of Black Peter, his page, who follows him, distributing switches, coal, straw – whatever – to the naughty children as St. Nicholas gives treats to the good. Black Peter appeared in the Dutch festival after the invasion of Holland by the Spaniards, who brought black servants with them.

“Telling the truth about Santa Claus” need not rob children of their Christmas magic. It adds to it with another feast to celebrate, another saint to know and love, another emphasis gently persuading them to meditate on the coming of the divine Child.

And if we really fear to take away that part of it which is surprise, that marvelous moment Christmas morning when the presents are at last mysteriously there, be assured the little ones continue to pretend.

Our littlest ones, knowing the truth, continue to pretend that it is all assembled in the most mysterious and magical fashion.

“But – then – who gives us the presents?” children will ask. “Who loves you most in all the world gives you the presents.”

“Who is that?”

“You guess.”

They screw up their faces, think hard. Then suddenly all brighten: “You – and Daddy, and Grandma and Granny!”

It is like the circle that never ends. God loves mothers and fathers and gives them children they will love, and they teach the children about God, and the children love God, and since God wants them all with Him in Heaven, He sends His Son who loves them so much that He gives up His life for them, and that is so much love that it pays for their sins and buys back Heaven for them….

At Christmas everyone is so happy about all this that we all give each other presents. Shouldn’t that be the reason we give and receive presents?

It would be a little embarrassing to be asked, “Don’t you think the Christ Child is an adequate substitute for Santa Claus?” and feel you must answer no.

He really is and He must become the all of Christmas for families who are going to try to live lives of deep faith.

It is not really worth it to toss in this “little white lie” when we are trying so hard to teach children impeccable truthfulness.

Probably not all children who discover there is no Santa, when they have been told by their parents that there is, will consider their parents dyed-in-the-wool liars, but there is the danger that they will discount some of every other truth they are taught.

This is an age when accuracy and unadorned truthfulness are not particularly in vogue.

Yet a concern to speak the utter truth in everything will teach a child better than anything else how to be utterly truthful himself, how to be honest with his own conscience – which is the same thing as being honest with God.

Santa Claus is not a serious lie, but St. Nicholas in his rightful place, gazing with us at the Christ Child, is a much lovelier truth.

One thing, however, it is not cricket to do: go about the neighborhood telling all the children who do believe in Santa Claus that “there is none.”

This kind of revelation is guaranteed to leave nothing but heartache behind. Without proper explanation or background, it is really cheating a child of something he dearly loves.

Most children can learn to keep their own counsel about this; where there is disparity on the subject in the neighborhood, with love and tact the mothers can explain and help prevent unpleasant exchanges.

One of the traps into which most parents of goodwill eventually fall before Christmas has arrived is to shout in the heat of some shortness of tempers: “How do you expect to get presents on Christmas if you aren’t good now?”

No sooner are the words out of your mouth than you could bite off your tongue. But it has been said. The ugly implication is there: you might not get presents for Christmas.

St. Nicholas’s feast is an ideal time for straightening out this problem of being good and not being good before Christmas.

It is true that the issue should have something to do with the end result, but when we threaten this way, we forget that the reason God the Father sent the Christ Child wasn’t because everyone had been good, but because they hadn’t been good.

To transfer the burden of the “be good or else” problem to St. Nicholas is infinitely more comfortable.

Here the threat involves no more than a stockingful of cookies, but it is a prospect sufficiently dreadful to give them pause.

It also involves a happy solution to the naughtiness. No good behavior – no cookies. It usually works (I speak from experience).

The shock of seeing that you meant what you said, of hearing St. Nicholas warn you the night before and discovering he meant what he said, is most salutary.

Most enfants terribles will stand dolefully watching the more virtuous munching their cookies and make a superb effort to mend their ways, and yet the event is not of such magnitude that it leaves any permanent scars.

People always ask how we handle the delicate business of sharing should this occasion produce one or two malcontents without cookies.

We are all, of course, very sad to see they have no cookies, but if it is a warning and a punishment, then it is a warning and a punishment.

Character training is involved, and also your own authority. No cookies – shared or otherwise.

 

“Where is the busy mother who cannot find time enough to spend thus a few moments every night with each child before it falls asleep, in sweet, loving talk; and tender, earnest prayer? Far down into the years, the memory of such sacred moments will go, proving thousands of times a light in darkness, an inspiration in discouragement, a secret of victory in hard struggle, a hand to restrain from sin in time of fierce temptation.” -J.R. Miller

St. Nicholas Coloring Pages available here.

Sign up for the Giveaway on this post!

Beautiful Vintaj Brass Wire Rosaries! Lovely, Durable…

Available here.

These rosaries are one-of-a-kind and should last a life time…..many Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s!
It would make a beautiful gift for that special someone!

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand.

Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent.

Because of this technique for wrapping wire around itself this craft is called wire wrapping.

Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

Advent wreaths and candles….

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • A Great Family Tradition
  • 11″x14″

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

8 Ways to Nurture Your Relationship

Don’t ever underestimate the influence you have in your little world, starting with your husband!

From 100 Ways To Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

  1. Share interests together.

As many as possible. See how you can join him in his hobbies and invite him to share in yours. Even if you don’t both enjoy the same things, at the very least you can be interested and enthusiastic about what interests him. And then look for activities that you can both learn to enjoy together as well. Start something new if you have to.

2. Laugh at his jokes.

Yes, even if you’ve heard them before. Laugh because it’s funny and laugh because it’s healing.

3. Remember the one you fell in love with.

Don’t let him get lost in the dailiness of life. And if it seems that you’ve become distracted and weighed down, take some time off to renew your love for each other. Take a holiday. Slow down. Or simply remind yourself that he is the one you love.

4. Fix his favorite foods.

You know what they say about the way to a man’s heart….

5. Listen sympathetically to his day.

Sometimes being a friend means simply caring about the little things – and the big things – that go in his world. Put aside time and make it a priority to hear about what goes on with him. It’s one of those little connecting points that add up over time.

6. Put your love for God first.

The most loving thing you can do for your husband is to invest in your relationship with your God above all.

7. Reach out and touch.

A tender touch can do so much good – for you both. Even when things aren’t going too well, sometimes this one simple, but loving gesture can soften spirits and ease the tension.

8. Remember you are a powerful influence in his life.

Women of influence. That’s what was featured on the cover of the magazine. The fifty faces of women who’ve been recognized as having significant influence. A truly impressive collection.

So I don’t know why it had this effect on me, but I looked at those 50 women and immediately felt small. Inconsequential. Unknown. A nobody. Because, of course, my picture will never be on the front of that magazine. Not that I’ve ever aspired to such a place. But still… I was somehow struck by my insignificance.

I know it’s not right – or even reasonable – for me to think this way. Yet it managed to stir up so many of my insecurities and self-doubts that I began questioning whether I’d do anything meaningful with my life. Ever.

After all, who am I? No one really.

The dark, defeating doubts swirled around as I brewed a fresh pot of coffee for my husband and continued with me as I trudged up the stairs to his home office. I poured him a cup and then began pouring out my pitiful-me thoughts before him. Poor meaningless me.

I jabbered on and on about how I never amounted to much and probably never would….When suddenly and unexpectedly my pity-party came to a complete stop. I realized that my husband wasn’t paying the least attention to me. He wasn’t really listening at all, but smiling at something in front of him.

What? What was distracting him? Then I saw it. Right smack in the middle of his desk sat a nicely framed photograph of his beloved wife. Yes, that would be me. Nobody else. Not one single photo of the Fifty Women of Influence was placed before him. Just little, simple, wifey me.

And then came the moment of revelation: I am a woman of influence. Tremendous influence. You see, it’s my face that’s featured on the cover of his life. Because amazingly enough, the Lord has chosen this woman to be that man’s wife. Which means it’s me – and only me – who completes him.

Who recognizes his strengths.

Who balances out his weaknesses.

Who builds him up.

Who understands him like no one else.

Who encourages him when he’s down or discouraged.

Who sleeps by his side at night.

Who stands behind him.

Who brings out the best in him.

Who loves him for who he is.

It had never occurred to me before, but I’m becoming a woman of great influence.

But you know what else? So are you. You also are a woman of consequence and have a powerful role to play in your husband’s life.

You are the most influential woman in his world. And to my way of thinking, that is one of the highest honors and privilege a woman can hold.

So it looks like I am significant – even if it’s only in the eyes of one man.

Yet it’s the one man who matters most in my life.

My photograph is placed prominently where all the world can see it. Or better yet – where he can see it.

A powerful woman of influence.

“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. MIller

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season….

It’s not too late to jump in with this Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal! You can order the book here or you can download and print the e-book here! Come, join us on this wonderful walk through Advent!

 

Advent Package available here.

22448317_759195647615781_4570763390921745454_n

Intricate and Classy Hand-Crafted Kanzashi Accessory Flower for Your Hair, Scarf, Shirt etc…. Available here.

Lovely review on Gin’s aprons:
“I highly, highly recommend these aprons. Purchase one for yourself as a treat. I have two of these aprons, one for Fall and one for Advent/Christmas. They are soft, lined on the backside in a coordinated fabric, and they are sewn together with much love and attention to all the details. The ties are long enough to wrap around your back and tie in front if you like that style. The Autumn one I’ve used for a couple of months now washes up well for me on delicate cycle with Woolite.”

Her aprons are available here.

Come visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe for many beautiful hand-crafted items to please your loved ones this Christmas!

Sign up for the Giveaway on this post!

Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

St. Zelie Rosary Christmas Giveaway!/Quotes to Live By

Today, I’d like to offer you an Advent/ Christmas Giveaway!!

The winner will receive this lovely and durable, handcrafted St. Zelie wire-wrapped Rosary, along with the purple (for Advent), lacy chapel veil/scarf!

Just leave a comment here, and your name will be added! It is always great to hear from you. 🙂

I will announce the winner next Tuesday, December 10th!

Inspiring Quotes for your day…

It is not the solitude of the Himalayas that makes prayer. The essence of prayer is the company of Our Lord.
A person may be exceedingly busy, yet there may be still that quietness of the spirit necessary to prayer.
You need not give up the most troublesome and onerous line of life, but if you desire to set your heart on God, there must be quietness from the noise of the world. So will you be with God and God with you. -Fr. Daniel Considine, S.J., 1950’s, Photo by Susan Fox, Trevillon Images

“It is a high honor for a woman to be chosen from among all womankind, to be the wife of a godly and true man. She is lifted up to be a crowned queen. Her husband’s manly love laid at her feet, exalts her to the throne of his life. Great power is placed in her hands. Sacred destinies are reposed in her keeping. Will she wear her crown beneficently? Will she fill her realm with beauty and with blessing? Or will she fail in her holy trust? Only her married life can be the answer.” -J.R. Miller

His grace does not operate on our imaginings, ideals, or dreams. It works on reality, the specific, concrete elements of our lives. Even if the fabric of our everyday lives doesn’t look very glorious to us, we can be touched by God’s grace. -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom https://amzn.to/2QL5a5D (afflink)

“God made us to be happy in this world and eternally happy in the next. Doing His will – as expressed in the commandments and by the voice of His Church – is the surest way to attain our destiny.” – Fr. Lovasik

“Parents are often to blame for the rebellious spirit of their children, because they give little of themselves – of their time, interest, and practical love – and then complain that their children do not obey. Let your good example be a sufficient motive for your children’s obedience, even when you are obliged to ask them to do things that few other parents ask.” – Fr. Lovasik

Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary? Be careful of those sins of the tongue! Great sermon! http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20140323-Seven-Ways-to-Sin-By-Detraction.html

♥♥♥ “How often do the father and mother of a large family remain young at heart because of the love they give to, and draw from, their children and grandchildren? In fact, many say that old age is their happiest time of life because they can enjoy to the fullest the love of the children!” – Rev. George A. Kelly, Catholic Family Handbook

“Never be ashamed of your home or family because it is humble. People who look down on those whose home is humble and who lack social prominence are not worthy of the friendship of decent families. The most important things in life are character, honest work, humility, loyalty, friendliness, and love.” -Fr. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook

“God has so constituted us, that in loving and caring for our own children—the richest and best things in our natures are drawn out. Many of the deepest and most valuable lessons ever learned, are read from the pages of a child’s unfolding life. There is no influence more potent than that which touches us when our children are laid in our arms. Their helplessness appeals to every principle of nobleness in our hearts. Their innocence exerts over us a purifying power. The thought of our responsibility for them, exalts every faculty of our souls. In the very care which they exact, they bring blessing to us.” J.R. Miller

“Whenever and however the vocation is received, to be among the chosen few of the Lord is of itself a great privilege, a high distinction and an enviable honor.” -Rev. Fulgence Meyer O.F.M., 1928

Don’t insist on perfection. Expecting perfection from yourself and others is a setup for disappointment. Things won’t go as planned and you won’t be perfectly organized. Let it go. This, too, shall pass. -Charlotte Siems

🌸🌸Everyone is drawn to a smile. Who and what you are is reflected in your face. Does your husband see you as a happy, grateful woman? Love is like a flower: you can’t expect it to grow without sunshine. Has your husband seen your sunshine lately?

A picture of the incredible Beauty of God….

“Look at the birds of the sky. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? But which of you can add any time to your life by worrying?”

The great St. Bernard wrote in his rule that whenever the monastic bell rang, the monks were to drop what they were doing and go to whatever they were being called to.

In our homes, our monastic bell is all the many things beckoning at us throughout the day…the diapers to be changed, the dishes that need doing, the laundry that needs to be done, etc.

We respond to these things right away, even though we many not want to, remembering that these duties are the very things that will make us holy.
www.finerfem.com

Prague At Christmas… Dear Infant of Prague, O Little Jesus, have mercy on us!

One man found the secret of true happiness. His name was St. John Bosco. He was a man who experienced many trials, but who also lived a life full of gladness and joy. St. John Bosco was so happy that he could hardly contain it. “Dear friend,” he wrote to an associate, “I am a man who loves joy and who therefore wishes to see you and everybody happy. If you do as I say, you will be joyful and glad in heart.” Read more here at The Catholic Gentleman.

Are you blessed by this site? Consider donating today by clicking the donate button. Our benefactors are remembered in our daily, family rosaries….

Review: Love these!! So far I’m only on the Spring edition but I love it! Short little inspiring blips here and there that a busy mom and wife can pick up and put down and receive encouragement and inspiration for the day to live out her Catholic faith and vocation! Thank you so much for putting these maglets together! The seller is wonderful with communication and didn’t hesitate to fix the problem when I hadn’t received my order. Meadows of Grace is a wonderful, personable, and professional shop that I will definitely return to!

All 5 Maglets! Finer Femininity is a small publication compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. It consists of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two…Available here.

Advent wreaths and candles….

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

We Await A Savior – The Advent Wreath

Advent season is here!

The time we spend with our families incorporating the rich traditions of the Church will ingrain in our children a love of our Holy Religion. We are creating a legacy that will be passed on through generations…

by Helen McLoughlin

Advent is the beginning of the new liturgical year. It is a season of spiritual preparation, marked by eager longing for the coming of the Savior through grace at Christmas, and for His second and final coming. It is also an ideal time to establish in our homes liturgical customs which will restore our children to
Christ.

In our family we use these age-old Advent practices to help our children live closer to Christ and His Church during the pre-Christmas season. Time-tested and proven, the customs teach the doctrines of redemption and develop a generosity with God and a coordination of the family’s spiritual efforts as effectively now as they did for our forebears. Their strong and living faith will be the heritage of our children if family religious practices, centered in the Liturgy, “the normal school of sanctity for the laity,” become established in our homes.

Secularism has invaded our households. The Bishops of the United
States have warned us that “the Christian must make his home holy–the Christian must realize the Christian ideal.”

Father Edgar Schmiedler, O.S.B., in his three excellent pamphlets, “Your
Home a Church in Miniature,” says of family customs and blessings: “They are a relatively simple, but highly important, means of union between altar and home. They are a media for channeling from one great spiritual reservoir, given into the Church’s keeping by Christ, the living and transforming waters of grace from the Saviour’s fountain.”

Children, who love the beauty and simplicity of family religious practices, make the traditions easy to establish. As a rule it is best to begin with one or two customs and add others in years to come.

It is also highly desirable that families develop their own special customs, at least by adapting traditional ones to their personal circumstances. Once established, customs recall to older members of the family long forgotten practices of their own childhood. These have a special appeal because they belonged to our forefathers and link us to the wealth of national customs now fallen into disuse.

ADVENT WREATH

Most popular of the Advent customs handed down to us is the Advent wreath made of evergreens, bound to a circle of wire.
German in origin–it was taken, so we are told, from the pagan fire wheel–the wreath represents the cycle of thousands of years from Adam to Christ during which the world awaited the coming of a Redeemer. It also represents the cycle of years since then that we have been awaiting His second and final coming in glory.

It bears four candles, equally spaced, three purple ones to be lighted on the “penitential” Sundays, and a rose-colored one for Gaudete, the joyful Sunday in Advent. Candles may be placed inside or outside the wreath.

Any kind of Christmas wreath such as those hung in windows may be used. It may be set on a kitchen or dining room table, on an end table in the living room, or in a child’s bedroom. However, it is most appealing when suspended by four purple ribbons from a light fixture in the ceiling.

When our children were small we bought a large, permanently preserved pine wreath and used it year after year. Now that they are going to school they help to make a new one each Advent.
Inexpensive and easy to assemble is the wreath we make from a bunch or two of laurel leaves bound to a circle of wire from coat hangers. The evergreens are secured by fine wire to the circle.
Candles and ribbons are added as the wreath is put together. Laurel is practical because it does not shed when suspended over the dining room table. Moreover, laurel is a symbol of victory, and thus reminds us that Christ’s coming means victory over sin and death.

Loveliest of wreaths and fragrant, too, is one of fresh princess pine. When we use that type, we hang it in the living room and add a single silver star to it each evening inAdvent when the candles are lighted for prayers. Stars are cut from metallic paper.

City dwellers may make an attractive wreath of fireproof green paper, while country folks will find a metal barrel hoop ideal as a frame for whatever evergreens are at hand. In our children’s classrooms in Corpus Christi School, New York City, Advent greens are sometimes kept fresh in inexpensive plastic rings.

The home ceremony for use of the Advent wreath is simple. It consists of Collects, hymns and prayers proper to the Advent season. We have put it together as follows. On the first Sunday of Advent, our family gathers for the blessing of the wreath by father, who begins:

Father: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

All answer: Who made heaven and earth.

Father: Let us pray. O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

He sprinkles the wreath with holy water. Then Myles, our youngest child, lights the first candle, and the prayer for the first week is said.

Father: Let us pray. Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, O Lord, and come, so that we may escape through Thy protection and be saved by Thy help from the dangers that threaten us because of our sins. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

During the first week one candle is left burning during the evening meal, at prayers or at bedtime.

Two candles are lit on the second Sunday and allowed to burn as before. The prayer for the week is:

Father: Let us pray. O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure souls. Through the same Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Three candles, including the rose candle, are lit on Gaudete, the third Sunday, and during that week. The following prayer is said:

Father: Let us pray. We humbly beg Thee, O Lord, to listen to our prayers; and by the grace of Thy coming bring light into our darkened minds. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

All four candles are lit on the fourth Sunday and allowed to burn as before. The prayer said the fourth week is:

Father: Let us pray. Stir up Thy might, we pray Thee, O Lord, and come; rescue us through Thy great strength so that salvation, which has been hindered by our sins, may be hastened by the grace of Thy gentle mercy. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

At the end of Advent, candles and ribbons are changed to white, evergreens renewed if necessary, and tiny Christmas balls added to decorate the wreath. We hang ours in the entrance hall where it adds a festive note to the house and gives us a chance to explain the wreath to neighbors and tradespeople who have not seen it previously. The wreath, unless it sheds, is kept until Epiphany.

“At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.”
(Illustration: Angelo von Courten,1848 – 1925)

Coloring pages for your children…

  

Take a peek at these lovely Christmas aprons! Fully lined, quality material, made with care and detail. Available here.

An Englishman living as a monk in the Italian Alps is called to England to rebut and neutralize the efforts of an aggressively hostile anti-Catholic to proselytize the English.

Seriously wounded at the siege of Pamplona in 1521, Don Inigo de Loyola learned that to be a Knight of God was an infinitely greater honor (and infinitely more dangerous) than to be a Knight in the forces of the Emperor. Uli von der Flue, humorous, intelligent and courageous Swiss mercenary, was responsible for the canon shot which incapacitated the worldly and ambitious young nobleman, and Uli became deeply involved in Loyola’s life. With Juanita, disguised as the boy Juan, Uli followed Loyola on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to protect him, but it was the saint who protected Uli and Juan. Through Uli’s eyes we see the surge and violence of the turbulent period in Jerusalem, Spain and Rome.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

A Spiritual Christmas Crib – New! Printables!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when I remind you (and me) to take this season of Advent (starting today!) to make it special for your family! The magic and charm of Christmas comes from our Catholic Heritage!

This is a beautiful devotion that can be made simple! Especially now that I have some printables for you to make it easier!

It’s nice to follow this devotion from a book so consider getting the Finer Femininity Advent/Christmas Maglet.

OR The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal which has the devotion on each day of Advent!

This is a custom we have kept throughout the years. It is a beautiful little devotion preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.

You can do the special activities indicated each day in this devotion in your own manger scene, using your imagination. When my older ones were young we made a 3D stable out of heavy cardboard and added the different themes each day…whether it was drawing in the cobwebs or making paper doll figurines for the nativity scene.

Or you can do what we have done the last few years. We put up 4 big white posterboard papers on an empty wall to make a big blank paper just waiting for the crayons and sharpies to make their mark! (You can make it as big or small as you like, using just one or two posterboards.) Each morning we draw the part of the manger scene that is applicable to that day.

I usually do the drawing in pencil then the child whose day it is traces it with colored markers and colors it in.

OR, (and I wish to thank my friend, Mary Ann for for this!!), you can use these Stable printables and get your children to color them on the day they go into the stable, and voila! you can add them to your Nativity scene!

We also print out (or write out) the special prayer for the day and put the assigned one up so we can say it throughout the day.

We sometimes forget a couple days and have to back track. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a wonderful family devotion that helps to make Advent and Christmas meaningful!

Here’s the devotion:

Start on December 1.

Read the thought indicated
about Christ’s first crib.
Practice it during the day. Do this daily during
December and make your heart a worthy crib for
Christ on Christmas Day.

DEC.1 – THE STABLE
Frequently during the day offer your heart to the
little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home. –

Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and
pure.

DEC.2 – THE ROOF
See that the roof of the stable is in good
condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected
from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully
avoiding every uncharitable remark. —Jesus,
teach me to love my neighbor as myself.

DEC.3 – CREVICES
Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the
stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter
there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard
especially your ears against sinful
conversations.–Jesus, help me to keep
temptations out of my heart.

DEC.4 – COBWEBS
Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib.
Diligently remove from your heart every
inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this
intention at least three times today. —My Jesus,
I want to please You in all I do today.

DEC.5 – FENCE
Build a fence about the crib of your heart by
keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially
at prayer. —Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.

DEC.6 – MANGER
Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart
for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by
abstaining from what you like most in the line of
comfort and amusement. —Mary, use these
sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in
Holy Communion.

DEC.7 – HAY
Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by
overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.
Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest
sins.

DEC.8 – SOFT STRAW
Provide your manger with soft straw by
performing little acts of mortification; for
instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit
and stand erect. —Dear Jesus, Who suffered so
much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

DEC.9 – SWADDLING CLOTHES
Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding
your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and
thoughtfully. —Jesus let me love you more and
more.

DEC.10 – BLANKETS
Provide the manger with soft warm
blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and
gentle to all. —Jesus, help me to be meek and
humble like You.

DEC.11 – FUEL
Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own
will; obey your superiors cheerfully and
promptly. —Jesus, let me do Your will in all
things

DEC.12-WATER
Bring fresh clean water to the crib. Avoid every
untruthful word and every deceitful act.
Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for
my sins.

DEC.13 – PROVISIONS
Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive
yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a
treat. —Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.

DEC.14 – LIGHT
See that the crib has sufficient light. Be
neat and orderly about your person; keep
everything in its place in your room. —Jesus, be
the life and light of my soul.

DEC.15 – FIRE
Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed
by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He
has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful
respect towards your parents and relatives. —
Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show
my gratitude to You?

DEC.16 – THE OX
Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without
making excuses and without asking “why.” —I will
obey for love of You, Jesus.

DEC.17 – THE DONKEY
Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine
Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service
of others. —Jesus, accept my service of love;
I offer it for those who do not love You.

DEC.18 – GIFTS
Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and
His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say
an extra decade of the rosary. —Come, Jesus, to
accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.

DEC.19 – LAMBS
Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and
and patient. Do not murmur or complain.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make

my heart like Yours.

DEC.20 – SHEPHERDS
Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn
King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your
speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is
important because Jesus will be born again in
you.
Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.

DEC.21 – THE KEY
Provide the stable with a key to keep out
thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful
thought, every rash judgment —Dear Jesus, close
my heart to all that hurts you.

DEC.22 – ANGELS
Invite the angels to adore God with you.
Cheerfully obey the inspirations of
your guardian angel and of your conscience. —
Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that You
are with me always.

DEC.23 – ST. JOSEPH
Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn
from him silently and patiently to bear refusals
and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg
Him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy
Christmas Communion.

DEC.24 – THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the
manger of your heart and beg her to lay the
Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and
telephone conversations and spend more time today
thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You.

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season…

Advent starts today and if you are new to using my Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal (if you are not, this tidbit is still a good reminder), you will want to peek at the following page. It will help you to get the things together you will need to do the Advent Traditions in the book. If there are some activities you are not doing then check or cross them off this list. We do them all but that is optional. Pick and choose as you see fit…

Advent Calendars (we have used the pop-up ones in the past….sweet, if you have a place to set it…can be purchased off Amazon.) The Advent candles can be bought online, too!

Yesterday was the start of the St. Andrew Novena! Don’t forget! Say this prayer 15 times from Nov. 30th to (and including) Dec. 24th. If you forget a day (try not to) then double up the next day…

You can print out this page from my Advent Journal and write down your petitions!

Check out my Advent/Christmas Finer Femininity Maglet here

Save when you buy all 5 Maglets here.

Perfect books for the holidays! (And they make great gifts, too!)

In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.