Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

As the hours of 2009 wane and 2010 approaches, just wanted to say: Happy New Year to one and all. This year has certainly had its challenges. I don't know what 2010 will bring, but I certainly hope that it'll be better than 2009 in many respects.

Our New Years Eve was spent with friends we've known for a long time. With everyone married and so many children we don't get together very often. It was wonderful to do that and awesome that we all were able to be there. And our hostess announced another pregnancy as well! So we know there will be at least one more child added to our gang in 2010. I'm praying there will more! It was a wonderful night with a wonderful group of people. And because everyone has small children the party wrapped up around 8:30pm. Even though we don't have kids, that worked out well for us too!

Our 2010 will begin with Mass early in the morning. January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation to celebrate Mary's title of Mother of God. For me this year, at this Mass in particular, I will definitely be thinking about that title a lot. And praying too that I may be able to gain the title of mother sometime between now and the end of this new year. I am mother to two saints in heaven, but I hope to be able to have that title here on Earth too. Lots to pray for!!

Happy New Year to all! I hope everyone has a great 2010 and, if you make any resolutions, that you are successful in those. I'm making a few myself, but I'll save those for a future post! Happy 2010!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to one and all. After a very good Advent it was wonderful to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas Eve Mass. Christmas Eve was spent with my sister's family where we enjoyed dinner together, opened up our annual ornament gifts, and had a wonderful dessert.

Christmas morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast made by my brother the chef, who had the day off from his restaurant. My sister showed up later in the morning and we got to open gifts and watch my 4-year-old niece get sooooo excited about all the princess stuff she got. She showed us the Snow White dress Santa brought her and was very excited to get a series of Disney princess dolls (about 7 or 8 of them!). It's so much fun to do Christmas with little ones, they are so fun to watch!!

We have had a wonderful Christmas visiting with my family down south. And this year I'm trying to remember that Christmas is just beginning. The twelve days of Christmas started on Saturday and I love that we will continue singing Christmas hymns at church for the next two weeks and the church will remain decorated for Christmas all the way to January 10. I love the Catholic church! We try to celebrate the big events in seasons, not days. How fun! I'm looking forward to seeing our church decorated for Christmas after we get back home.

Merry Christmas and Happy Third Day of Christmas to everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent 2009

Don't you just love Advent?? It's a time of preparation and waiting, lots of anticipation, and a time to be filled with hope. Hope for the coming birth of our Savior and all the hope He brings into our lives. These four weeks of preparation are a great time to reflect.

What do you do for Advent? Anything special to prepare for the coming Christmas joy? Do you anticipate celebrating Christ's birthday in a special way during these four weeks??

The radio station I listen to has been discussing Advent quite a bit recently. No surprise, right? They had a guest on recently who was talking about ideas for Advent. Some of her suggestions were to pray for someone who needed prayers every time you light a candle on the Advent wreath; of course, having an Advent wreath is an important part of celebrating this Advent season; and when wrapping gifts, say a pray for the person to whom you are giving the gift you are wrapping. If you have children and do this with your children, it shows them the real reason for the season. I'm sure she had other suggestions, but those are the ones I heard that stuck with me.

In my house we have an Advent wreath that we light each night before dinner. What I like about this year is that because of the kitchen renovation we've been doing, we haven't had a chance to pull out any Christmas decorations. Instead, we just have the Advent wreath and for me, it keeps my focus on what Advent really is and where Christmas belongs. Christmas BEGINS on Dec. 25 and lasts for a couple weeks after that. It doesn't end on the 25th!! So this year, I am more focused on Advent because we only have the Advent wreath out and nothing else.

Also, I picked up one of the Blue Books at Church. These little books (blue for Advent and Christmas, black for Lent, and there's a third, probably Easter, but I can't remember the color) are great for quick daily reflections. They are published by a diocese in Michigan (I think). Each night we light the Advent wreath, have dinner, and then after dinner read the day's reflection in the Blue Book.

Another thing to remember is that Advent is a penitential season, just like Lent. So, this coming Wednesday Chris and I are attending a Reconciliation service at church. As we prepare for our Lord's birthday, we should reconcile our sins with God and be cleansed through this beautiful sacrament. It's part of our preparations for celebrating Christmas.

I also like how the Church reminds us about the penitential nature of this season. Mass begins with several of the lights out, the Advent wreath is lit, and the lights come on as the Liturgy of the Word begins. Also, in the Introductory Rite, the Gloria is not sung, just like during Lent. Come Christmas, the Gloria will be back! Also, we sing Advent songs ("O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" at every Mass this year!). Christmas songs will come out on Christmas and we'll sing them through Epiphany in January. But before then, we are focused on the preparation for the joyous celebration to come.

How do you and your family celebrate Advent? What special things do you do in preparation to celebrate our Lord's birth?