Praised be Jesus Christ! We’d like to provide some practical tips on celebrating the profound spirit of Advent, which begins on Sunday, December 2nd through December 24th. These are grace-filled days that prepare the heart for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah of the Old Testament and Good News (or Gospel) for all the people of God. These are some things that we Sisters do in our local convents to keep the spirit of prayer, waiting, and silence that Advent brings to us in this beautiful Liturgical season. Here we unite with our Blessed Mother as she journeys to Bethlehem to give birth to our Infant Savior. May you and your family also do the same!
Advent Angel: We pick a name from a box and become that person’s Advent Angel throughout the season. The Advent Angel remains anonymous and does little acts of love and kindness for her Sister. This can include anything from prayers, hidden favors, providing uplifting quotes in her workplace, cell, or chapel seat. Then on December 25th, we guess who our Angels are, and when revealed the Angel gives a Christmas Card as her last offering.
Stillness Nights: In order to promote a spirit of prayer and stillness to combat the busyness of the season, we begin our evening with a simple candlelit dinner and soft instrumental music. We then have the extra time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as a community, and personal time for study, reading, or rest. These stillness nights help us to prioritize our time of quiet so that we can schedule other times of necessary preparation for Christmas in a peaceful and prayerful manner.
Isaac Box: This little custom comes from the spirit of Abraham, our father in faith who willingly brought his only beloved son, Isaac, up Mt. Moriah to be sacrificed. Abraham loved Isaac but was willing to sacrifice him because he loved the Lord. We know the ending of the story, God prevented Isaac’s death because he was pleased with Abraham’s obedient heart. A large “Isaac Box” is put out in the common area and the sisters can choose to sacrifice something they use or like, but don’t necessarily need. These items can range from a favorite pen, a book, or any other material thing that would be a sacrifice to give up. The only rule is: Items only go in, not out.
Straws for Jesus: Using a creche and strips of paper, the Sisters write out sacrifices, prayers, or favors they perform during the Advent season and fill up the creche with “straw” so as to make a comfortable bed for the baby Jesus when He comes.
We hope you find these tips helpful to truly prepare and open your heart to receive the graces that Baby Jesus wants to give you during this beautiful Advent season! May God bless you and your family!