Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tomorrow is the First Sunday of Advent!

Can you believe it? 

Almost no time for a breath between Thanksgiving and the Christmas season this year, and I'm scrambling this morning to feel on top of it all.  There's still a cooler of Thanksgiving day iced tea on my counter and a fridge full of leftovers threatening to avalanche any time the door is open, but instead of working through that mess, I have to hike out to the barn this morning to hunt down our Advent wreath. Agh!  I'm not ready!  So, though I'd like to post some pictures of our Turkey Day and reflect on how full I still am, I really do need to get our Christmas season plans on "paper" first. Here they are, in a nutshell:
(Thanksgiving pictures later!)

* On the Feast of St. Andrew, which is also the first day of Advent this year, we begin:

 The Christmas Novena

“Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment
 when the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.

In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my petitions,

through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen"

We'll repeat this prayer 15 times a day until Christmas for our various special intentions, ending on Christmas Eve.

(Note to self: Print this out and put one copy on end of piano where everyone can see it to pray seven times in morning with morning prayers -- and put one copy near statue of the Blessed Mother to pray the last eight in the evening at rosary time.)

* During the first week of Advent (beginning Monday!), we'll start building our Nativity Scene in the dining room fireplace as always, but this year we want to try to observe more closely the traditional manner and order of constructing the creche.  (Below is a detail of last year's set up, not quite finished.  I'll post pictures as we build this year's edition.)

* Next Sunday, the second week of Advent, happens to also be the Feast of St. Nicholas, and we'll celebrate with goodies in the children's shoes in the morning and a big batch of crockpot peppermint mocha in the afternoon -- after Mass and our parish's St. Nicholas Festival.

(Note to self: Order holy cards and patron saint medals from Aquinas and More now, in order to get them in time for St. Nick's Day!)

* The Eighth of December, the following Tuesday, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Along with Mass that day, we'll decorate and light a Mary Candle:

"The Mary candle: Some families have the custom of decorating the Christ candle with a blue veil on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On this great feast, others place a candle with a blue ribbon before a statue or picture of the Blessed Virgin, whose “yes” to God enabled our Lord’s coming at Christmas. The candle is lit during meal times to serve as a delightful reminder of Mary’s eager expectation of the “Light of the World.” It can also serve as a reminder to each family member to keep their own light of grace burning as a preparation for Christ’s coming."
(From CERC)

(Note to self: Get Hobby Lobby internet coupon to bring with me to offset cost of pillar candle.)

* On the thirteenth of December, the Third Sunday of Advent, we get to celebrate The Feast of St. Lucy, with all of its special traditions .  The novena to St. Lucy may be begun next Saturday, December 5th, to finish on her feast day.

Novena to St. Lucy

St. Lucy, Your beautiful name signifies light.  By the light of faith which God bestowed upon you, preserve and increase this light in my soul, so that I may avoid evil, be zealous in the performance of good works, and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin.  By your intercession with God, obtain for me perfect vision for my bodily eyes and the grace to use them for God's greater honor and glory and the salvation of all men.  St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions.  Amen.

(Note to self: Get copy of Lucia, Saint of Light!)

* Advent Embertide comes around again, on Wednesday, Friday, and in the third week of Advent (December December 16th, 18th, and 19th).
* Later on, during the last octave of Advent, beginning December 18th,  we'll pray the O Antiphons,

* But tomorrow, we'll set up our Advent Wreath to begin the First Sunday of Advent prayers on Sunday.

* And, in addition to the Christmas Novena, we'll start the Christmas Crib Prayers on Sunday. 

We had copies of this and prayed it for years until we lost the prayers during some move or another.  But we found it again last year, reprinted by the lovely lady at House and Hold ! Wahoo! We all love this devotion.  Here it is in its entirety:

A Spiritual Christmas Crib

The following directions show you how to build a spiritual crib in your heart for Christ. Use it to put Christ into your Christmas in a real, living way.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

--Dear Mother 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.


Also 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.

Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and thoughtfully.

--Jesus, help me love you more and more.

Provide the manger of your crib 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, help me do Your will in all things.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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

--Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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."

**From: Devotions in Preparation for the Coming of the Christchild, and at the Crib, from Christmas to Purification" by Rev. Frederic Nelson, published by Marian House, Powers Lake, ND 58773

*** Christmas Crib prayers reprinted from last year -- First five comments are last year's, as well...  (Long story why they reprinted.  &:o) 


SuzyQ said...

This is wonderful!
I am going to copy it out for my girls.
Thankyou for finding it and sharing it :0)

Jenny said...

I too had this meditation a few years ago! Thanks for posting it! I lost mine and then had a baby or two? and forgot all about it.

Bia said...

I just printed this out...absolutely lovely and thought provoking.

Esther said...

Thank you so much for this! I've used them to fill our Advent Calendar.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad it's useful to you, Suzy, Jenny, Bia, and Esther! I was so pleased to find it again!

Anonymous said...

Found you through "Are We There Yet?". Thanks so much for this- I lost my copy from years ago and wanted to make a chain for the g-kids.

GrandmaK said...

I'm sooo late in getting here but this is really wonderful! Thanks for this! Cathy