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First, a little gallery of our doings and then a repost……

On the holy day, Dec. 8th, we went to the Kansas City Plaza to see the lights. If we had gone on a weekend, there would have been a horse-drawn carriage for one to ride and carolers to hear as they gather on street corners…..

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This was a mini vacation for us (something we never do) and we started the day off, after Mass, with breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

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We happened to meet this large and very sweet family at the restaurant. 🙂 They were on their way to get their Christmas photo done!

 

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Dare I say It was cold?? I got reprimanded from a Canadian friend when I said it was cold here in Kansas, while they were suffering minus forty degrees! Needless to say, for Kansas, it was COLD!

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We were early for the lights and went to have a snack at Panera Bread. We also sat and played dice that Vincent had bought at one of the Toy Stores. We tried to keep the noise to a low roar. The workers at Panera probably hadn’t quite experienced a group like ours….

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We said hello to Benjamin Franklin. He was rather quiet. I think he was cold, too. 🙂

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Rosie and Margy did the St. Nicholas stockings. They love to go and shop for the goodies. The last few years, if money was tight, they also pitched in. So don’t fret, Mamas, if you feel like you just can’t do it all. When the kids get bigger, they will help! Keep it simple….

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It’s the eve of Dec. 6th and the stockings are ready! We went to Mass on St. Nicholas Day and then dug in!

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An early Christmas gift from a friend of the family, this maze game is pretty a”maze”ing. The paths are very intricate, with levers and baskets urging the little ball to go forward. There are 3 levels and Angelo (our 11 year old) has conquered all 3! What a great idea for a gift!

 

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A horticulturist at heart, Vincent got a purple orchid (for Advent) and a red amaryllis (for Christmas) to grace each side of our stable scene. So pretty!

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Rosie puts a purple bow on our “Advent Tree” with Nini (Sienna)….

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Adding my two cents….

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Our Spiritual Christmas Crib has been hard to keep up with this year. But we play “catch-up” if we have neglected it a couple of days. The spirit of it is much better if it is kept up but life is not perfect, right?

 

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Rosie helps at Virginia’s with her Stable and Advent Wreath.

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Jeanette’s Advent Tree. It is so wonderful to see my married children carry on some of these beautiful customs that will, in turn, be passed down to our grandchildren. It is quite a legacy we leave behind when we make the effort to do these things!

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The empty manger and the animals await the arrival of the Holy Family!

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A Repost:

I love the season of Advent and there are so many lovely Advent traditions out there!

We don’t have to try to be super-woman and get in every one of these customs. I am in a different phase of life and have more time for these things. We have just picked up the puppet show again after many years of being too busy.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with busy-ness by adding too many pressures to measure up and be Advent Queen but DO spend your time on making Advent special and meaningful. Pick a few choice traditions and try to stick to them consistently each year.

Here are a couple of pictures of our St. Nicholas Puppet Show this year. The kids (and adults) loved it…there were more adults present than children. 🙂

IMG_6366IMG_6355-001IMG_6344The pictures below show  what happens when we ask the guys to make the Advent wreaths. Aren’t they unique?!

The first one is made up of round pieces of a tree trunk nailed together to make ‘steps” the candles can rest on. Little holes are drilled so the greens can be popped in and out easily. The second one is a rectangular block of wood with the holes drilled in it for the candles. The greens from the Christmas tree are then just laid on it. Purple ribbon is used for accent and….voila! You have a lovely advent “wreath”!IMG_6308 IMG_6309

The following is a blessing of the Christmas tree led by the father of the house which was written in the 1950’s. I thought it was very beautiful and we have incorporated the custom this year! We also put up our Christmas tree WAY earlier than usual and made it into an Advent tree until we decorate it closer to Christmas.

 

IMG_6268IMG_6426The Blessing of a Christmas Tree:

by Helen McLoughlin

Sometime in the evening the tree is blessed by the father of the family, and afterwards the festive lights are lit for the first time. The following form may be used for the blessing.

FATHER: O God, come to my assistance.

ALL: O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father
and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the
beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

FATHER: Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the
Lord, for He comes.

ALL: Sing to the Lord a new song; * sing to the Lord, all you
lands.

FATHER: Sing to the Lord; bless his name; * announce his
salvation day after day.

ALL: Tell his glory among the nations; * among all peoples,
his wondrous deeds.

FATHER: For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; *
awesome is he, beyond all gods.

ALL: Splendor and majesty go before him; * praise and
grandeur are in his sanctuary.

FATHER: Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the
Lord glory and praise; * give to the Lord the glory due
his name!

ALL: Bring gifts, and enter His courts; * worship the Lord in
holy attire.

FATHER: Tremble before him, all the earth; * say among the
nations: the Lord is king.

ALL: Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the
sea and what fills it resound; * let the plains be joyful
and all that is in them!

FATHER: Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the
Lord, for he comes; * for he comes to rule the earth.

ALL: He shall rule the world with justice * and the peoples
with his constancy.

FATHER: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy
Spirit.

ALL: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, *
world without end. Amen.

FATHER: Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the
Lord, for He comes.

MOTHER: Lesson from Isaias the Prophet. Thus saith the Lord: The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord and the beauty of our God.

ALL: Thanks be to God.

FATHER: And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of
Jesse

ALL: And a flower shall rise up out of his root.

FATHER: O Lord, hear my prayer.

ALL: And let my cry come to You.

FATHER: Let us pray. O God, who hast made this most holy night to shine forth with the brightness of the True Light, deign to bless this tree (sprinkles it with holy water) which we adorn with lights in honor of Him who has come to enlighten us who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. And grant that we upon whom is poured the new light of Thy Word made flesh may show forth in our actions that which by faith shines in our minds. Through Christ our Lord.

ALL: Amen.

Besides the historical explanation given above, there are of course many beautiful legends and much symbolism behind the Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree is a sign of the great Tree of the Cross; it is noble because it is by a tree that the whole world has been redeemed.

The splendor of the Christmas tree reminds us of the redemption of even the material creation by Christ–and recalls the lovely legend that all the trees on earth blossomed forth on Christmas night. And the evergreen is traditional for the Christmas tree, for it reminds us of the everlasting life that Christ won through His Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection.

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untitledThe Christmas season is a season of good will. If we really have in our hearts good-will to men, we shall not only wish every one well, but we shall seek every opportunity to do good to every one, beginning with those at home. It will make us good wives, good mothers, good neighbors, kind, obliging, ready always to lend a hand, to do another a good turn.

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