Advent is such a lovely time for families, especially those with young children. It is important that we keep Advent special for them. It is not Christmas yet and somehow we should battle against the commercialism of the modern day Christmas to explain and act out Advent. We prepare our hearts and souls first and foremost to welcome the Word made flesh. It is a time of prayer, small sacrifices, sacramental confession, giving, reading from the Bible.
In doing some of this we can also prepare practically - we can read from the Bible in order to produce a Jesse tree with children (see my post for 2010), we can fill a shoebox to go to children in poorer countries and pray for whoever will receive it throughout Advent, we can have a jar at home to fill with money left from small sacrifices which can then go to a worthwhile cause. We should of course mark Advent with a table wreath and/or calendar, aquaint ourselves with the Christmas story by preparing a crib and maybe involve children in making Christmas cards and decorations to go up when Christmas does arrive! If children are in school they may be in a nativity play and Christmas inevitably does arrive sooner than it should but try to keep the season of Advent first at home. It will be so important for them to take this tradition forward when they are parents. Happy Advent!