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  #16  
Old Nov 8, '11, 11:35 am
Mickey Mickey is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

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Originally Posted by EasterJoy View Post
Well, yes...the struggle is also in finding quiet when the secular world is essentially going into a frenzy.
Sometimes this is not an easy task in this day and age.
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Originally Posted by EasterJoy View Post
The other thing is that a good many Protestants don't even have a liturgical calendar, save that they celebrate Christmas and Easter. Honestly, I kid you not: that is it. Their pastors decide from week to week what part of Holy Scripture to proclaim and expound on. There is no denominational structure to it. In some churches--"Bing!"--Christmas or Easter just arrive, with no liturgical preparation at all. There is no Octave of Christmas; it is one day. I don't know how they stand it.
Yes. It saddens me to see so many deprived of the holy Traditions of the Church. Although there are some who still hold to a Liturgical calendar of sorts (Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists).
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Originally Posted by EasterJoy View Post
Even in a household that observes Advent, there is a lot to do to get ready for Christmas, because relatives are coming and there are special foods to prepare and the house to prepare. It is a lot of work.
A few years ago, we attended an Orthodox Church which was on the Julian Calendar (most Orthodox worldwide are still on this calendar except in America). This means that Nativity is celebrated on January 7 and Theophany on January 19. I loved this! After the hustle and bustle and all the commercialism of Christmas was over on Dec 25, we were able to dedicate all our efforts on obsereving the true reason for the Holy Day. But alas, we are back on the Gregorian calendar and the struggle continues.
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Originally Posted by EasterJoy View Post
The Latin Church doesn't say a thing about gift-giving, one way or another, on birthdays or Christmas or any other day.
One day I walked up to a Benedictine Abbot who was turning 72 years old and told him happy birthday. He was silent for a long time and then said: "Today is not my birth day. My birth day was way back in 1932."
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  #17  
Old Nov 8, '11, 11:50 am
silicasandra silicasandra is offline
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Join Date: June 1, 2011
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

Liturgical seasons were part of what drew me to the Catholic faith. I liked understanding why Easter was when it was, and what Lent was all about. It's also made me rethink Advent (and not be depressed on December 26th because "Christmas is over.")

I think this year we are going to do an Advent wreath, which we didn't do last year. One priest I knew recommended putting up the decorations a little bit at a time not out of necessity but as a spiritual exercise. So, if you have an artificial tree, for instance, you put it up bare. The next week you put up lights but don't turn them on yet. Then ornaments, etc. etc. You don't light it until Christmas Eve (or don't put the star or angel on top.)

I know some people will put up nativities and then have the Wise Men on one side of the room, and then throughout the season they travel across the room to the manger. This makes more sense to do during Christmas itself, though, instead of Advent. You could put up the pieces a little bit at a time but that would make me batty. Some people do wait to put Jesus in the manger until Christmas Eve, though.

I guess I am thinking of physical things now that I have a child. I want our children to be conscious of the preparation period, not just the celebration part, and I've been trying to come up with traditions they could take part in that would help them get that. But it would be good to work on some personal preparation too that doesn't necessarily have that component.
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  #18  
Old Nov 8, '11, 1:01 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

Like my parents, we are fortunate enough to have a living room that shuts off from the rest of the house. When my siblings and I were little and when our kids were little, we used to put up the Christmas tree in secret, and not reveal it until just before the family left for Midnight Mass.

One of my most vivid memories is the thrill of seeing the tree for the first time that Christmas. The whole room was darkened, save for the lights on that beautiful tree. I must have been about five or six, and I cannot remember anything before or since transporting me in quite that way.

This has the advantage that you save money if you're not heating that room after you bring the tree in, plus the tree looks better after Christmas if it is in a cold room until Christmas. If you're trying to get it to look nice until the 6th or 8th of January, that is a big deal!!

Now the kids are old enough to help decorate, so we just wait until very close to Christmas to decorate the tree. We do add decorations gradually, and that's the last major thing.
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  #19  
Old Nov 8, '11, 1:03 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

The other vivid Christmas memory is getting to Midnight Mass a bit later than Dad liked, and therefore sitting way up front in the first or second pew. The incense was heavenly in the years we sat farther back, but up front it was so strong I nearly passed out!

I also remember my Mom making dozens and dozens and dozens of all kinds of Christmas cookies. Some we'd make ahead and freeze; others had to be made close to Christmas Day. The relatives would all visit during Christmas week and "see our tree." The cousins would swoop in and those huge platters of cookies would just evaporate! Then we'd visit their houses on other days, and the kids in our family would vacuum up their cookies. (Well, of course the host kids had to eat some, too. To be polite, you know. )

Our family and many others in our area also had these big breakfasts after Midnight Mass. Father would drop in on several; I don't know how he made it home after all the cheer he was given at each house! He was always there at 9 am, though... that was the children's Mass. The adults sang at Midnight Mass, and the grade school kids made up the choir in the morning. Most families went to both Masses.
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  #20  
Old Nov 8, '11, 1:12 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

During Advent: No candy or sweets and no alcohol, excepting if we were invited to group get-togethers. You could have some cookies after the school play or a Tom and Jerry if there was a Christmas party at work, that kind of thing. Birthdays were still celebrated, and there were treats on Dec. 6 for St. Nicholas' Day. Otherwise, nothing like that until after Midnight Mass.

The treats for St. Nicholas were always peanuts, oranges, orange-flavored candies, and just a few chocolates. I think this was a hold-over from when early December was the first time of the year that oranges could be obtained. There were no gifts, though.
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  #21  
Old Nov 8, '11, 1:15 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey View Post
One day I walked up to a Benedictine Abbot who was turning 72 years old and told him happy birthday. He was silent for a long time and then said: "Today is not my birth day. My birth day was way back in 1932."
That's perfect. It reminds me of a woman writing a story about being at a conference being attended by a number of Benedictines. She and this monk were late or something, but she was making breakfast just for him and for herself.

She asked him how he liked his eggs. He just looked at her. He hadn't thought about how he liked his eggs in decades. No one at the monastery ever asks! They just serve up enough variety to be interesting without killing the older monks, two choices except maybe three on a feast day, and that is what you get.
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  #22  
Old Nov 8, '11, 4:33 pm
Rita77 Rita77 is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

First Sunday of advent we put up the tree but save the turning on the lights until Christmas eve mass.we slowly decorate it each day
We put lights on our first pillar on the outside of the house light purple like a advent candle (we have a pillar for each week).
We put out all Christmas nativity sets outside and inside ones but keep the “baby Jesus” and “wise men” put away until the proper time.
We put a baby doll cradle under the tree and with each good deed my children do they put some pieces of hay into the cradle (manger). By Christmas eve (I hope) it is full and the bedding for the baby Jesus doll.
We read the daily readings every day of the year
Dec 6 St Nick day we have stockings, candy, and read St Nick’s story
Dec 8 Immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary we go to mass and explain to the kids what the day means.
Dec 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe our parish does some celebration and talks about what happened in Guadalupe.
There is some fun winter themed secular music we do enjoy this time of year.
Each week we light advent candles and pillars
Our Bishop has a ceremony for “Bless the baby Jesus” in your manger. We bring it to church, go to mass get baby Jesus blessed and have cookies and milk after.
Dec 24 My kids are 5 and under so we go to a early kid mass or wait until Christmas Day.
That night after supper we light the tree, read the Christmas story out of the bible. We sometime open presents but that depends on family reunions in the next few days.
Dec 25 open gifts, fest, drink, be marry, enjoy friends and family
We celebrate Octave of Christmas, Epiphany of the lord, and the baptism of the lord talking about each day and the readings, we eat and drink and be marry.
I add more each year and change things each year. We aren’t anti Santa we do limit him to St Nick and has about as much attention as frosty the snow man. To name a few of the things that I would intervene if done is because I’m against it for my children is reading the night before Christmas, Santa comes to tonight, the Polar express, Elf movie etc. You get the idea I don’t want Santa fantasy to be implied as real to my young children. My 5 year does know about the Santa fantasy but we try to avoid glorifying it.
EasterJoy I didn’t mean to come off harsh on your last thread. I have read many of you post on CAF and usually agree with you. After reading this one I think you have more experience and knowledge about this season then I.
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  #23  
Old Nov 8, '11, 4:53 pm
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: Joy and Our Preparations for Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rita77 View Post
First Sunday of advent we put up the tree but save the turning on the lights until Christmas eve mass.we slowly decorate it each day
We put lights on our first pillar on the outside of the house light purple like a advent candle (we have a pillar for each week).
We put out all Christmas nativity sets outside and inside ones but keep the “baby Jesus” and “wise men” put away until the proper time.
We put a baby doll cradle under the tree and with each good deed my children do they put some pieces of hay into the cradle (manger). By Christmas eve (I hope) it is full and the bedding for the baby Jesus doll.
We read the daily readings every day of the year
Dec 6 St Nick day we have stockings, candy, and read St Nick’s story
Dec 8 Immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary we go to mass and explain to the kids what the day means.
Dec 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe our parish does some celebration and talks about what happened in Guadalupe.
There is some fun winter themed secular music we do enjoy this time of year.
Each week we light advent candles and pillars
Our Bishop has a ceremony for “Bless the baby Jesus” in your manger. We bring it to church, go to mass get baby Jesus blessed and have cookies and milk after.
Dec 24 My kids are 5 and under so we go to a early kid mass or wait until Christmas Day.
That night after supper we light the tree, read the Christmas story out of the bible. We sometime open presents but that depends on family reunions in the next few days.
Dec 25 open gifts, fest, drink, be marry, enjoy friends and family
We celebrate Octave of Christmas, Epiphany of the lord, and the baptism of the lord talking about each day and the readings, we eat and drink and be marry.
I add more each year and change things each year. We aren’t anti Santa we do limit him to St Nick and has about as much attention as frosty the snow man. To name a few of the things that I would intervene if done is because I’m against it for my children is reading the night before Christmas, Santa comes to tonight, the Polar express, Elf movie etc. You get the idea I don’t want Santa fantasy to be implied as real to my young children. My 5 year does know about the Santa fantasy but we try to avoid glorifying it.
EasterJoy I didn’t mean to come off harsh on your last thread. I have read many of you post on CAF and usually agree with you. After reading this one I think you have more experience and knowledge about this season then I.
I like your traditions! Our parish asks the kids to do special good deeds, and then on Sunday they put a piece of straw in the manger for every good deed. They prepare for the Lord's coming by acts of charity. The statue of the Christ Child is put into the manger when the Creche is blessed, at the first Mass on Christmas Eve (typically packed with kids).

We put a statue of Our Lady at the center of our Advent wreath, because we recite the rosary as a family at night when the Advent wreath candles are lit. I've always thought I'd like to get baby roses for the wreath over Dec. 8 (Immaculate Conception) through Dec. 12 (Our Lady of Guadalupe), because the miracle of St. Juan Diego's tilma included roses and St. Bernadette's vision of the Immaculate Conception had a rose on each foot, but I've never actually done it.
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