Toward Living Advent & Christmas

History has always been intriguing to me, and liturgical history, so relevant to my daily life and domestic church, is even more so.  Liturgical history is vivid, sometimes surprising and fascinating.  I enjoy the context.  There is a depth and richness to our faith that is not only intriguing historically speaking, but offers a sense of belonging to a larger family, of belonging to the Mystical Body of Christ.  Connecting to those traditions and customs of our Church anchors a family to the beautiful, rich, meaningful traditions of our Church family, the Communion of Saints.

I have enjoyed learning about so many of the rich meanings, customs and Traditions of our Church for the seasons of Advent and Christmas.  Over the years, I have penned notes here and there in notebooks and on post-its.  My Advent booklist was in one place, and everything else was…well…everywhere.  This year, I decided to bring everything together — all of my notes, ideas, crafts, prayers, books, the Feasts of the season, and the rich history I so enjoyed learning about — everything together in one working & living document.

As a living document, this will change; I’ll add to it as I learn more, and of course the dates will change slightly each year as the beginning of Advent changes…but the content is there.  Having it all together in one place has been so helpful and serves as a useful reference and tool.  I thought I’d share it with you in case you were interested.

There are 2 links below, one is a pdf document and the other is a Word document.  If it’s useful, you can edit either to reflect the book choices for your family. I’m warning you – this document is 19 pages long…more like a mini-Advent-book!  LOL!!  You’re surely not surprised are you?  LOL!!

Toward Living Advent & Christmas – pdf
Toward Living Advent & Christmas – Word (to convert this to a Word document much of the formatting was lost/changed.)
Edited to add:  I built this is in Pages.  If you have Pages for mac (a word processing program similar to Microsoft Word), email me and I’ll send you a copy of the Pages program for you to edit for your own family.                  

The following are the resources I used to compile Toward Living Advent & Christmas.  All of them (except The Christmas Book) are out of print so their availability may fluctuate:

Advent & Christmas Booklist

Advent and Christmas Poetry

I would ask you to keep in mind that this shared resource is meant to be a tool.  Use it as it fits your family.  Our family will spend some years deeply immersed in the richness of the ideas shared on this list and other years will find us pulling out just a few favorites.  I trust you will do the same in your homes.

May your Advent preparation and Christmas rejoicing be blessed, living and fruitful. 

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  1. An amazing resource! Thank you! I'm printing it out now; it's just wonderful to have the books, traditions, cooking, and prayers so well organized. Thanks again for all the work you took to put this together. I'm sure it will bless many!

  2. WOW! Thank You! I have been trying to create a document such as this to ease the celebration of Advent in our home and school. Thank you so much for sharing the fruit of your labor!

  3. Hello Jenn,
    Your document is great, so much work, I'm slowly working my through it. I have one small correction to make. When I reached St. Lucia (Lucy) you wrote about the Swedish tradition that the youngest daughter wears a wreath/crown with candles. I'm pretty sure it's the oldest :).

    Thanks again for making this available for free.

  4. Eva –
    You are SO RIGHT!!! Thank you for catching that mistake!!! As I was typing, I included our individual family custom, which is to allow the youngest daughter represent St. Lucia…but you are right! The Swedish custom is to have the oldest daughter present the morning rolls and coffee, dressed in white with the wreath of candles on her head.

    So many of you have communicated via email! Thank you so much for your kind words!

  5. Jen–thank you for all of your posts, they are so wonderfully filled with our Lord's beauty and inspiration. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. Hello Jen,

    I just noticed that I typed double “n” for your name! Sorry for the typo!

    When you mentioned that your youngest daughter represents St. Lucy, I was wondering how you do this. Does she wear a wreath with burning candles? Isn't she too young for that? Just curious . . .

  7. We do not use burning candles. A dear friend kindly made us a lovely wreath with candles – all out of felt that my daughter wears. 🙂 The Swedish tradition, however, is to use a wreath with burning candles…on the oldest girl.

  8. Wow, thanks for that amazing book list! I'm always on the lookout for new resources!! I’ve started a new blog of my own, but barely anyone knows about it yet, if you could kindly pass on the blog address to any mothers you think might enjoy it, I’d deep appreciate it! Thank-You and have a wonderful Christmas! Mrs Allen

  9. Thank You Jen. I am thinking it will be a low key Advent this year as there have been some changes in our family dynamics. Quiet and Simple as we await our Lord's birth celebration. Thank you again for sharing. I hope your Advent plans come together in a beautiful way for your family.

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