Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tis The Season...Advent is Here!

Today, December 1st, is the first day of Advent. The much anticipated countdown to Christmas. Christmas is my favorite time of year...not just the actual holiday but the entire season. It has so many incredible memories for me and gives me such hope and excitment for my babies.

Today, while working at St. Matthew's, the priest came into a kindergarten class to talk about Advent. The kids were so eager to talk about Santa and the Grinch show that was on last night. Rightfully so, the priest directed them to the real meaning of Chrismas- Christ. As I hunched over the sink cleaning paintbrushes out, I found myself more connected to the words he said than ever before...

The waiting, the anticipation, the eagerness and excitement to the big day when we celebrate the birth of Christ. Not just the celebration of Christ but the symbol of light in our lives. Each candle we light for the next 24 days, each Christmas light on the outside of houses, every star in the sky, is a symbol of the light God brings to us. What connected to me most was the priest's example of our friends and family being the true light in our lives and how each of them shows us the real meaning of this incredible Christmas season...

My babies....my husband....my family....my friends. Each of them bring so much "light" into my life and THEY are the reason this season brings me such joy. I'm grateful to Fr. Mark for reconnecting me!

One of my favorite memories from my childhood was having an Advent Calendar. I thought this would be the first year Alaric would be ready to truly enjoy it.

So, after dinner tonight, I sat the kids on the floor and told them we had surprises for them.

HEre they are waiting for their first surprise....
I'm not sure who was more excited, me or them!
Each day there is a little note or instruction, a piece of candy or chocolate, or things to put on their tree. Here we are explaining how it works.
Alaric reads the first note that tells him to go on a hunt in the back storage room to find he and Amara's very own Christmas tree for their bedroom.
he found it!!!
The tree looks great and Alaric loves that it gets to replace is lamp for the next month!
Then, A family tradition we started two years ago. I take 48 of my gazillion Christmas books and wrap them up. Each child gets their own basket of books. Every night before bed, each child gets to pick one book to open and read. Then the opened books join the other Christmas books in a different basket.
The next 24 days will be full of late nights, crazy wrapping marathons, cookie making chaos, and crabby moments. But it will also be filled with eyes of amazement as Amara really sees her first snow, Alaric's deep insight to the birth of Jesus, the excitement Brian and I have as we get each other's gifts ready for the big day, and nightly prayers to God for our family and friends and all we love.
I can't wait to continue the family traditions my family has started like having only 3 gifts to open on Christmas morning, representing the 3 gifts the Wisemen brought to Jesus or our movie marathon, pizza, popcorn, and jammies only day on Christmas. Or perhaps my parent's tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve or Brian's parent's tradition for the kids of Santa bringing one extra special gift, unwrapped, under the tree so its the very first thing they see and get to play with right away.
What joy, what happiness, what excitement, what anticipating as we all wait for Christmas. I hope you too will see the "light" around you. I hope it fills your heart and feeds your soul with the wonder and amazement of the season!


Alicia said...

What an amazing attitude and energy for this holiday season. I love you and your family!

Heather said...

Thank you for this. This time of year has changed for me now that I have Olivia and I have a renewed spirit to make it the most memorable time of year for her every year! Bring on the family traditions and finding the true meaning in Christmas-family and hope.

Jeff said...

From one of my theology classes in college:

We never actually see light, but only its reflection as it bounces off whatever object it is illuminating. Substitute "God" for "light" and you've got a nice little reminder that we're seeing God reflected in everyone we meet.

Now I'll go back to my blog and use swear words.

Jenny Murray said...

I am tearing up reading your blog, Katie. I love you and your family so much. I am so awed by the traditions you have created for your family. A & A will always remember the excitement of opening their books each night leading up to Christmas. I only hope that I can create similar memories for my family one day. You are such a great mom and friend. I love you.