Toward Living Advent and Christmas :: 2011

I have been working hard to get all my plans and ideas on paper for Advent this year.  Have you been considering your Advent plans?  Will it be a simple, quiet season of preparation for you and your family, or will you try to incorporate some meaningful ideas for living the season of Advent?  (Both are right answers, by the way!)

I have a very busy First week of Advent which is really motivating me to get my ducks in a row ahead of time this year!  Advent wreath out – check!  Advent candles ordered – check!  Advent books out and arranged in baskets – check!  Consider how our family will take time to live the holy season of preparing during Advent – check!

Last year I shared my document detailing Advent history as well as our plans for living Advent and Christmas with you!  It was something I really enjoyed putting together and really helped me keep my head on straight; Advent is so liturgically rich!  So, a couple of weeks ago, I got out my plans from last year and my calendar and planner and pencils and pens and marked and rearranged the old plans, and added and updated so that we can now enjoy the 2011 Advent plans and I’d love to share them with you!

(**NOTE** a significant amount of formatting will be lost in the word document; I built the document using Pages for mac and then exported it to word.  Please feel free to use this document as a beginning for your own Advent plans.)
EMAIL ME for the Pages for mac file of Towards Living Advent and Christmas 

Thank you!  You are welcome to use, edit or share this document for your own personal family use, but you may not sell or distribute multiple copies (without permission).

There are some definite updates to our Advent plans this year: new books and a new focus on an old French folktale, Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, The Juggler of Notre Dame.   This very old and beautifully Catholic tale recounts the story of a poor juggler named Barnabus who, seeking shelter and home in a monastery, finds he has nothing to offer Our Lady and the Christ Child on the Holy night of the Nativity, save his small and unnoticed talent of juggling.  He offers the best of himself through his humble talent as he juggles his heart’s best before a statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child in the monastery chapel.  As the Abbot approaches him to reprimand him for juggling in the chapel, a miracle takes place!  I won’t spoil any more of the story as you really need to read these treasured adaptations for yourself and with your children!

The Medieval French tale, The Little Juggler, has a rich history of its own from the french poetry of the 12th century Benedictine Monk, Gautier de Coincy, through Anatole France’s adaptation, and an opera based on the tale written by Jules Massenet.  Many adaptations have sprung from these sources, and I’m delighted to list them on our Advent plans this year.  A few are absolute treasures, such as Barbara Cooney’s adaptation, The Little Juggler.  I cannot mention the worthwhile findings on this dear French tale without mentioning this helpful conversation discussing The Little Juggler at 4Real which I’ve enjoyed and learned so much from!

These Advent plans have been considered with our family in mind, but I love sharing in the hopes it might be a help to another family. I do remember when we were just starting to build our Advent collection.  I dearly treasured shared ideas and booklists as they helped me grow into our own family ways and traditions, and along the way I got to know so many delightful authors and illustrators as friends.

And of course…this post would not be complete without the disclaimer: the plans are a guide.  We do what we can, read what we enjoy, live out as much as we can to prepare our hearts for His coming!  We do no more and no less than that!

I thought it would be helpful for those of you just interested in the books on the plans to see a list of them here so I’ve linked them all for you, and hope this might be a useful resource!

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

Advent and Christmas Booklist

Specific reading for Saints during Advent and Christmas:
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Advent ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

St. Andrew
St. Edmund Campion
St. Francis Xavier
St. Barbara
St. Nicholas
The Immaculate Conception
St. Juan Diego
Our Lady of Guadalupe
St. Lucy
Las Posadas
St. Thomas the Apostle
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Christmas ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Nativity of Our Lord
St. Stephen
St. John
The Holy Innocents
St. David, King
St. Catherine Laboure
Circumcision of Our Lord ~ Mary, Mother of God
Most Holy Name of Jesus
St. Genevieve
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast of the Holy Family
* * *

I owe a debt of gratitude to Jennifer Gregory Miller at Family in Feast and Feria for her knowledge of liturgical books that she has shared over the years!  I especially enjoyed Jenn’s Alphabet Advent from which I learned of  many new and wonderful picture books to incorporate!  

* * * 

I pray that as you consider your family’s plans for Advent, you find time to be still and know, time to live the quiet, penitential season of Advent with your family, following in the path of our brothers and sisters, the saints.  May our time spent preparing our hearts for Him this Advent be rewarded most joyfully on Christmas morning!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Similar Posts


  1. Wow…this is just wonderful! Thanks you for sharing your talents : ) I did open it and would like to print it out for reference only, but I don't think the book titles will print out okay on the purple background. Do you have any suggestions?

  2. Jen, our family was blessed 8 weeks ago with our 6th child. I was worried I wasn't going to be able to “get it together” enough to have a meaningful Advent for our family. Your readings and plans are just what I needed. Thank you for your beautiful work and for sharing them with us.

  3. Oh Kim!

    Your kind comment is such a welcome thank you! That makes sharing this all worthwhile knowing that it might be a help to you and your family!

    God bless you and that new little one!

  4. Hello Jen, I was looking through your great list and trying to reserve some books in our local library. I wasn't using your links, just typing in the names of authors. When I got to St. Nicholas, I couldn't find the book Saint Nicholas by “Julie Stegmeyer.” After checking your link at amazon, I discovered that her name is actually “Stiegemeyer.” I thought I would mention this to you in case somebody else tries to find this book at a library.

I'd love to visit with you in the comment box! I do my best to respond as life allows!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.