Domestic Church: Celebrating Advent During Advent

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by Katie Sciba

It was a couple of years ago that we started putting effort toward celebrating Advent during Advent and waiting for Christmas to deck our halls. Truly waiting for Christmas cultivated my sense of liturgical seasons within the Catholic Church, and on a superficial level I found I wasn’t tired by December 25th as with Christmases of yore.

Did you know that the Christmas Feast lasts until Epiphany and the Christmas season until the Baptism of the Lord? And there are some perks to celebrating Advent during Advent and Christmas during Christmas.

Advent Decor in Church Doesn’t Throw You Off
Usually our home was streamed with whites and reds right after Thanksgiving, but then we’d walk into church each Sunday of Advent and see modest decor with purple and rose candles, a gentle reminder that we were slightly off in our celebrations. There hasn’t been much liturgical discord between our parish and house in recent years, which has really added to our feeling of…

Appreciation
Focusing on Advent during Advent and abstaining from Christmas celebrations until Christmas ups my appreciation. The carols in Mass are more joyful. It’s exciting to see the church and my own house covered in poinsettias and evergreens and the nativity on display; the liturgical readings are richer and the overall sense of joy is almost tangible. It’s easier to be immersed in Christmas spirit and humbled by the the Incarnation.

Major Discounts
Putting up the fake tree on Christmas Eve, we saw it was ruined by exposure to southern elements. We didn’t have a tree Christmas Day, but the rest of our festive decor made up for it and I was able to buy a new tree for a song on the 26th instead of paying well over $100 beforehand.

Ideal for Procrastinators & Perfectionists
Preparations don’t have to send your blood pressure sky high. The heavenly host glorified God proclaiming “peace and good will,” not “anxiety and fatigue.” My holiday food plans consist of breakfast casserole, an egg nog family recipe and crockpot hot chocolate. I now take advantage of the whole season for my to-dos. I send cards after the 25th (they’re still on time!). My menu is spaced over several days instead of crammed into one, because part of the gift in any home or culinary preparation is the peace with which its presented.

While the whole experience of giving due observance to the Advent and Christmas seasons was fantastic, it was a challenge to hold off on what was habitual not only for our family, but for society at large. Knowing that what we were doing was simultaneous with what the Catholic Church as a whole was doing made it fun and a goal worth striving for.

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