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  1. Advent is a season of Hope for the coming of Jesus. Not just the celebration of His first coming in Bethlehem, but in the many other ways Jesus comes to us: in the Bible, in the Sacraments, in prayer, through each other and in His eventual Second Coming at the end of time.

  2. Our normal ways of preparing for Christmas are great teaching moments and ways to celebrate what Advent is all about. Shopping for gifts should remind us of the great gift God gave us on Christmas and continues to give us each day: Jesus.

  3. Children’s anxious anticipation of the gifts they will receive on Christmas are like the anxious anticipation of the coming of Jesus our ancestors had. Remind your children how long the people of Israel were waiting for the coming of the Messiah (which means Christ and anointed one). They knew the Christ would save them and they anxiously awaited the day He would come.

  4. Read a little bit of the Christmas story from the Bible each week during Advent and talk about it with your children. Start with Luke 1:5-25 on the first week of Advent. The second week read Luke 1:26-80. The third week read The fourth week read Luke 2:1-20. In the fourth week read Matthew 1:18 – 2:23.

  5. We all grew up trying to be good during Advent, so Santa would bring lots of presents. Part of this is acknowledging when we are not good. Parishes have penance services during Advent, because Advent is a time of repentance as we prepare for the coming of Jesus by preparing our hearts. And besides, one of the ways Jesus comes to us is in the Sacrament of Confession. Taking the whole family to confession during Advent is one of the best things we can do during this holy season.

  6. Jesus is the light of the world. The Advent Wreath reminds of of this. As we get closer and closer to the celebration of His first coming on Christmas, the wreath gets brighter and brighter. Make sure you have an Advent Wreath in your home and teach your children how the lighting of one more candle each week reminds us that we are getting closer to the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

  7. Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and the Grinch are all fun parts of the Christmas Season and there is nothing wrong with enjoying them. Just make sure that those parts of the season don’t dominate the true meaning of Christmas. Watching Christmas specials on DVD like The Nativity Story and reading with them about the birth of Jesus are great ways to help keep the true meaning of Christmas front and center.

  8. Along with the Christmas tree, stockings, lights and all the other wonderful decorations of Christmas, make sure you also have a Nativity scene in your home. Let you children help set it up and put it in a central place of honor in your home. Let the youngest child put the baby Jesus in a spacial place (like their stocking) until Christmas morning, when they get to put Him in the manger, showing everyone that He was born on Christmas Day!

  9. The Rosary is a great way to pray all year long and the Joyful Mysteries are perfect for Advent. You can pray all five mysteries each week, or one mystery per week. The five Joyful Mysteries are 1. The Annunciation of the Angel to Mary that she would be the Mother of Jesus. 2. The Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. 3. The Birth of Jesus on Christmas. 4. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple as an offering to God. 5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple when he was mistakenly left there at 12 year of age.

  10. Slow down and breath in the Season of Advent. Don’t try and do everything on this list. Just like we don’t want all the shopping, baking and decorating to stress us out, Jesus does not want the Holy things of Advent to stress us out. Take one day and week at a time and allow the hope and holiness of Advent to enter your lives.

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