2 New Christmas Story Podcasts & A DIY Activity ~ Christmas Pennants to Color!

In the fall, I did this post on the different sets of Pennants you could do for a school activity, I said I would have a set for Christmas for your children to color. Well….here they are!

Christmas Pennant Series

Here are some of the pictures, but just click on the link above and you will get the pdf to print them all out.

 

Supplies needed:

*My Pennant Series (links below)

This is the School Pennant Series

This is the Fall Pennant Series

This is the Religious Pennant Series

This is the Christmas Pennants Series

*Cardstock

*Crayons or Pencil Crayons (We used pencil crayons)

*Scissors

*Hole Punch

*Ribbon

I used light cardstock to print the pennants out.

 

Two New Podcasts from my book Advent and Christmas Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children! The book is available here.

Mrs. V. tells your children a special Advent story….”Joseph was of a generous nature, Thomas not so much. When the boys played games outside, Thomas always wanted to be first in the games. Joseph would give up his place to make room for someone else….”

Mrs. V. tells your children a special Advent story….”Philomena received a beautiful gift from her aunt for her birthday in Advent. It was a lovely black and red Spanish mantilla! It was perfect for Christmas and Philomena was excited to wear it for Midnight Mass…..”

And a previous podcast….

Christmas Stories are always fun for children, especially when they focus on the faith and what is important during this wonderful season! In this video, Mrs. V tells three Christmas stories that have little lessons surrounding the beauty of Christmas!

Even so, O Woman, within that world which is your home and kingdom, your face is to light up and brighten and beautify all things, and your heart is to be the source of that vital fire and strength without which the father can be no true father, the brother no true brother, the sister no true sister, since all have to learn from you how to love, how to labor lovingly, how to be forgetful of self, and mindful only of the welfare of others. -Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894

Take a peek at these lovely Christmas aprons! Fully lined, quality material, made with care and detail. Available here.

Meet Saint Anastasia, one of the greatest Christmas saints and the Patroness of Martyrs. Take her hand and let her lead you to the Crib! When people think of saints that remind them of Christmas, Saint Anastasia is almost always forgotten. For centuries, this humble and unassuming martyr has remained hidden in the shadows of the stable. Yet of all the saints in Heaven, she is the only one whose feast day falls on Christmas itself! It’s about time she stepped forward and made some new friends!Join Saint Anastasia and her best friend, Saint Theodota, as they bravely prove their love for God and neighbor, even unto the sacrifice of their own lives. With charming full-color illustrations and easy-to-read text, this third book in Susan Peek’s new series for children (companion to her series for teens, “God’s Forgotten Friends: Lives of Little-known Saints”) is sure not only to capture the hearts of Catholic children everywhere, but to inspire and inflame them with a greater love for their Holy Faith and the saints who lived and died for it.

A baby reindeer longs for a name. Before his mother can choose one, invaders come and the herd flees . . . except for him. His wobbly legs are too weak to run. Captured and taken to a new land, the little reindeer yearns for escape . . . and for a friend. Meanwhile, as Christmas Eve draws near, a saintly bishop and a holy monk plan a surprise for the poor of their village. When problems arise, all seems doomed, until their paths cross with that of the baby reindeer . . . and a legend is born. “Saint Rudolph and the Reindeer is a delightful new Christmas story that the whole family will adore. The brilliantly creative Susan Peek has written a heartwarming tale that is destined to become a new family favorite. Taking her vast knowledge of saints, Peek has added a beautifully religious twist to transform a favorite children’s Christmas story into a holiday treasure.”- Leslea Wahl, Author of Award-winning The Perfect Blindside and An Unexpected Role “A loving God leaves no misfits behind! A warm and tender story of Christian charity and everyone’s favorite reindeer.” – Carolyn Astfalk, Author of the Christmas Romance, Ornamental Graces “I’ll definitely be adding this to my Christmas story-reading traditions and highly recommend it to other families.” – T.M. Gaouette, Author of Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

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The Reason For Christmas Presents and the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th

From The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

Why are we making gifts for each other two, three, four weeks ahead of time? Working as hard as we can to make something beautiful? To wrap it beautifully? To tie it beautifully? To think of something full of love to write on the card that goes with it? Because we know that Christmas is coming.

That Jesus should become man and save us from our sins is more than good reason to prepare, to anticipate. We want everything to be perfect for Jesus and for our beloveds when Christmas comes.

Just so, God the Father prepared for the coming of Jesus. He prepared for His divine Son a perfect Mother through whom He could come into the world.

This is how He prepared: God the Father knew that when the time came, from our Lord’s death on the Cross would flow graces that would never end, that would make it possible for Godlike powers to be given to men.

For example, He knew that our Lord would institute a sacrament through which grace would come to wash away the Original Sin inherited from Adam and Eve, and to fill the soul with marvelous beauty where God Himself could dwell.

In creating a Mother for His Son, God used this grace ahead of time – not to wash away Original Sin but to make a Mother whose soul was untouched by Original Sin.

This is what we mean when we speak of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, the name she used for herself when at last she told St. Bernadette who she was.

God does not live in time. He invented time for us so that we could keep track of ourselves, but He has no need of it, and in the foreverness of Heaven, He used all the magnificent graces His divine Son poured forth from His death on the Cross in time to merit for our Lady a perfect soul from the instant He breathed it into being.

That is why, when Gabriel came to her in Nazareth, he could say, “Hail, full of grace….” That is why, when Mary went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth could cry out, “Blessed art thou among women….”

This does not mean that our Lady was conceived in a miraculous manner, as her divine Son was conceived.

She was born of the lawful union of Joachim and Anne, loving husband and wife. It does mean that at the moment the seed of life that was to become our Lady was united to her immortal soul, it was to a soul God had created perfect.

Our Lady was made immaculate so that when the time came for the plan of the Redemption to unfold, her pure and holy body would be a perfect resting place wherein the love of God – His Holy Spirit – would breathe and His divine Son would begin to live. This beautiful doctrine explained to the children on the vigil of her feast will help form the spirit in which the entire family will assist at the Mass in her honor and receive Holy Communion.

The great Advent mysteries in the life of our Lady relate in many ways to the knowledge we must give our children about their bodies.

Now we see again why we must have reverence and awe for our bodies. They are made for great and holy things.

All the little girls in the world who will grow up to discover that God’s will for them is to be wives and mothers will, as mothers, carry their babies the way our Lady carried her baby.

Every mother we see who is expecting a baby can remind us of our Lady. It is so good of God to have His Son come to us this way, and so sanctify the bearing of babies.

He could have come in thunder and lightning. He could have come like a wild storm riding the sun, driving the moon and the stars before Him.

But, loving us in our littleness and our struggles and our pains and worries, He chose to be like us in all things save sin, so that we would always know that God knows what it is like to be a man.

If we have children for whom it is time to learn something of the way babies are born, Advent is an especially appropriate time to continue with that part of sex instruction.

This carrying of babies within the mother’s body, is it not beautiful? This is how our Lady carried her Baby, close to her heart, protected and sheltered there by her own pure body. This delivering of babies, as we call it – the emergence of the baby from his mother’s body – is it not wonderful? It is God’s way.

He decided it was to be like this. If there were a finer way for it to be, He would have it be that way.

“Let us pray tonight and ask our Lady to help us have reverence for our bodies, and for the bodies of others, and never to do anything with them God does not want us to do.” These things and a host of others relating to the meaning and spirit of Advent make beautiful, rich, prayerful conversations that go with the making of gifts.

Some are for parent and child alone, some for the group; both ways, the treasury to explore is inexhaustible.

A Prayer in Honor of the Immaculate Conception

ANT. This is the rod in which was neither knot of original sin,
nor rind of actual guilt.

V. In thy conception, O Virgin! Thou wast immaculate.

R. Pray for us to the Father, Whose Son thou didst bring forth.

Let us Pray

O GOD, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst
prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son, we beseech Thee, that as
by the foreseen death of that same Son, Thou didst preserve her
from all stain, so too thou wouldst permit us, purified through
her intercession, to come unto Thee. Through the same Christ our
Lord. Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady Immaculate

Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His
Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look
kindly on the wretched who implore thy powerful patronage. The
wicked serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues
fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do
thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our queen and advocate, who from the
first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of the enemy,
receive the prayers which, united with thee in our single heart,
we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never
fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive
at the port of salvation; and, in so many dangers, may the Church
and Christian society sing once again the hymn of deliverance and
of victory and of peace. Amen.

Ejaculations

In Thy conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for
us to the Father, Whose Son, Jesus Christ conceived of the Holy
Ghost, thou didst bring forth.

“The key to accepting our husband is humility. We must realize that we have human faults and limitations….that we, too, are not the perfectly virtuous individual. Remember, the only person we can change is ourselves. It takes humility of spirit to have a successful relationship. As for the rest, we must pray…..” -Finer Femininity

A sermon for you today:
Our Lady trusted in God & kept Him on her mind all the time. She is the greatest follower of Christ.

Coloring pages for your children…. (click on picture to get full view)

In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Christmas – A Correct Outlook

From Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home by Helen McLoughlin, 1950’s

It is to our Lady that Christian families must look for help to reestablish Christmas as a season of festivities marking Christ’s birth. Either we live the liturgical year with its varying seasons of joy and sorrow, work and rest, or we follow the pattern of the world.

Nor is it an easy task to break with the world and the powerful influence of advertising. Their season of Christmas begins around Thanksgiving Day when stores display wares for holiday gift-giving. It lasts until December 24.

Families, who would not dream of eating their Thanksgiving turkey a week in advance or of having their 4th of July picnic in June, give no thought to the fact that, when they awake on December 25, there is not a shred of Christmas left.

Every present has been opened. Every carol has been sung. The tree has dried out. Christmas is apt to be a dull day given to over-eating. There was no fast in Advent, so it follows that there can be no feast.

It is difficult to keep one’s home dark in Advent penance; to keep a tree fresh outside the door; to refrain from singing carols.

Our children see their friends’ trees shimmering with ornaments way before Christmas. Their houses are bedecked with lights. Television and radio blare carols. Not only is it difficult to keep from celebrating beforehand, it is even more difficult to begin forty days of the Christmas season when all around people are concluding their festivities.

How then do families return to the spirit of the Church and begin the season of joy and grace on Christmas Eve?

The simplest way is by keeping Advent. Children love to anticipate. When there are empty mangers to fill with straws of small sacrifices, when the Mary-Candle is a daily reminder on the dinner table, when Advent hymns are sung in the candlelight of a graceful Advent wreath, children are not anxious to celebrate Christmas before time. That would offend their sense of honor.

Older children who make Nativity sets, cut Old Testament symbols to decorate a Jesse tree, or prepare costumes for a Christmas play will find Advent all too short a time to prepare for the coming of Christ the King.

Celebrating Christmas in its season can be accomplished more easily when several families try it together. Frequently there are families who, if only for sentimental reasons, would like to keep the joy and surprise of Christmas for the eve.

Christians of the Eastern rite wait until their particular feast of Christmas comes in January. We should likewise begin ours on its proper day. We also need time for our festivities. The Church gives us a period of forty days for rejoicing.

As a child in the suburbs of Boston, my Christmas Eve centered around the parish house. On the half-hour groups of children with trumpet accompaniment caroled around the giant tree on the lawn or, when snow was too deep, sang on the rambling veranda.

From there they went to sing in the park, at the convent, and at homes of aged parishioners. Back to the parish house, its hearths aglow, children trooped to enjoy warm doughnuts and cider. Early in the evening high school students caroled on the same circuit.

Now the parish house was bright with candles and firelight. The night was blue and so frosty cold that the trumpets cut the air. Their “Noel Noel” traveled far and clear. In reply myriads of vigil lights, flickering against lace curtains in every house, returned a bright “Merry Christmas.” Carolers returned to the parish house for refreshments.

Half-hourly the charming custom of caroling went on. By nine o’clock the church choir arrived. When the last trolley car had left the carbarns an hour later, a hush fell upon the city making peace on earth a reality. By ten-thirty parents arrived to join the singing and to free the choir for rehearsals.

I remember the breathtaking beauty of the upper church. Its marble altar with golden decorations was resplendent with light. The crib gave new joy each succeeding year. With the singing of Midnight Mass our season of rejoicing began.

Afterwards families walked home together in the sharp cold nights, parents a bit ahead, boys and girls lagging behind. Everywhere vigil lights flickered in homes of the Irish emigrants who began the custom in penal days when priests were being hunted. Telling of the custom in “The Christmas Book,” Father Francis X. Weiser, S.J., writes: “The people had no churches. Priests hid in forests and caves and secretly visited the farms and homes to say Mass there during the night.

When Christmas came the faithful placed burning candles in the windows so that any priest who happened to be in the vicinity would be guided to their home through the dark night. Silently he entered and was received by the devout with fervent prayers of gratitude that their home was to become a church during the Holy Night. To justify this practice in the eyes of the English soldiers, the Irish people used to explain: ‘We burn the candles that Jesus and Mary looking for a place to stay will find their way to our home’ The English authorities finding this superstition harmless did not bother to suppress it.”

A Gaelic name for Christmas Eve is “Oidhche na ceapairi”–Night of Cakes. I can still see the cakes through candlelight in kitchens of my childhood. A spanking white cloth on the table set off the two-foot candle bound in evergreens and rising from a bowl of holly to symbolize the Light of the world arising from the Root of Jesse. On the polished black stove were round loaves of sweet buttery bread flecked with currants and candied peel called Irish Christmas “cake.” That bread spelled Christmas for us.

After a feast day breakfast early in the morning, our tree was stealthily brought indoors and set into its waiting stand. Balls were hung, tinsel, popcorn, and cranberries festooned to its spreading branches. Then it was time for Mass at dawn.

Every nation has its Christmas bread. The French Canadian uses homemade “Pain d’Habitant,” the German, “Christstollen,” the Czech “Vanocka.” The Italian saves a slice from each Christmas loaf and on St. Blaise day, forty days later, soaks the hard bread in milk and eats it. Many cakes are baked in wreath-shaped pans and circles to symbolize everlasting life. Among these are the Swedish “Julbrod,” chock full of citron, raisins, almonds; and the famous Ukrainian poppy seed cake. A recipe for the Irish cake is on p. 41.

MORNING PRAYERS DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

Children love to pray when they realize that they are saying the same prayers as Catholics all over the world. At Christmas it is easy to introduce such prayers as a family custom. These morning prayers, with variations on special feast days, are said from Christmas Eve until Candlemas. They may be used whole or in part depending on the ages of the children in one’s family.

Mother: Christ is born to us!

All: Come, let us adore Him.

Father: To the King of the Ages, who is immortal, invisible, the one only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

All: Thanks be to God.

Father: Arise, O Christ, and help us.

All: And deliver us for Your Name’s sake. Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Father: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

Father: O Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come to You.

Father: Let us pray. O Lord God Almighty, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, preserve us in the same by Thy power that during this day we may not fall into any sin, but that all our words, thoughts and work may be directed to doing Thy holy will. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

All: Alleluia.

Mother: This day Christ is born, this day the Savior has appeared. This day Angels are singing on earth, Archangels are rejoicing. This day the just are glad and say:

All: Glory to God in the highest, alleluia.

When children in our family are late or fussy, we sing the morning offering learned during babyhood:

“Good morning, dear God, we offer to You our thoughts, words and actions and all that we do.”

This is followed by the Lord’s Prayer, a Hail Mary, and an appropriate ejaculation.

EVENING PRAYERS DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

In the evening families may again use the official prayers from the liturgy of the Church.

Mother: May the Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.

All: Alleluia.

Father: Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.

All: Thanks be to God.

Father: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

Father: I confess to Almighty God,

All: to blessed Mary ever Virgin, / to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, / to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you my family, / that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: / through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. / Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, / blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, / the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you my family, / to pray to the Lord our God for me.

Since children love to sing their prayers, any Christmas carol or hymn such as Silent Night or Adeste Fidelis may be sung at this time. (When children are very, very tired we simply sing a hymn and call that our evening prayer.)

Father: Protect us, Lord, while we are awake and safeguard us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ and rest in peace.

Mother: Sing to the Lord a new song, Sing to the Lord, all you lands.

All: Sing to the Lord, bless His Name; announce His salvation, day after day.

Mother: Tell His glory among the nations among the people His wondrous deeds.

All: For great is the Lord and highly to be praised, awesome is He, beyond all gods.

Mother: For all the gods of the nations are things of naught, but the Lord made the heavens.

All: Splendor and majesty go before Him, praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.

Mother: 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.

Mother: 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!

All: Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes, for He comes to rule the earth.

Mother: He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with His constancy.

All: Protect us, Lord, while we are awake and safeguard us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ and rest in peace.

Father: O Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come to You.

Father: Let us pray. Visit this home, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy. Let Thy holy Angels dwell herein who may keep us in peace, and let Thy blessing be always upon us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

All: Alleluia.

Father: May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, keep us forever.

All: Alleluia.

Prayers in our house are said at the crib during Christmas. It might be well for parents to meditate on the words of Abbot Marmion: “When we would penetrate into the sanctuaries of God’s secrets, He says to us; ‘This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him.’

This is the solution of all: Jesus stretching out His little arms to us in the crib is God. As we gaze on Jesus, we have no difficulty in understanding that God is love.”

Parents should avoid buying the ugly representations of the Babe of Bethlehem which flood the market at this time of year. It is better to carve a Madonna and Child from soap or to encourage children to draw and cut out their own Nativity figures.

A Hummel infant in a wooden manger is more effective than a set of cheap figures.

If your children are too small to have a delicate statue under their tiny hands, a lovely Nativity scene of folded cardboard is available. The stable background with the usual crib figures are easily assembled; it is the sort of thing children (or teachers) will want to put near their windows to share with others.

“We must be a maker of Christmas for others or we cannot make a real Christmas for ourselves. We need the sharing of our joy in order to partake of its real possession. If we try to keep our Christmas all to ourselves, we will miss half its sweetness.” J.R. Miller

We often don’t realize the impact of those lessons, those Catholic lessons, that are taught each day to our children. It is so much worth the effort! The signs of the crosses, kneeling to say prayers, dipping fingers in holy water, laying fresh flowers at the statue of Our Lady, etc., etc. These are gold nuggets that will live on in your children’s lives. This is building Catholic Culture!
The following two books are to help you parents with those little things…..They are story books from my new little series, “Catholic Hearth Stories”. I wrote them especially for my grandchildren….and am sharing them with you…

For more info and Available here.

The role of fatherhood — Catholic fatherhood — has been diminished in three ways. First, it has become smaller. Fewer things are defined as a father’s distinctive work. Secondly, fatherhood has been devalued. Third, and most important, fatherhood has been decultured – stripped of any authoritative social content or definition.

The question is, “What do fathers do?” The tragedy of our society is that it can’t answer the question and neither can most Catholics. Forward – thinking Integrity Magazine gives answers:

• Men, Mary, and Manliness
• The Family Has Lost Its Head
• Economics of the Catholic Family
• Afraid to Marry?
• Glorifying the Daily Grind
• The Heroism of the Big Family
• Bringing the Church into Work
• Forward to the Land.
• Holiness for Men
• The Confirmed Hero
• What Is a Grown-up?
• The Father in the Home
• A Man’s Work
• Our Work Can Help Us to Pray
• Money, Money, Money!
• The State, Our Common Good

Archbishop Sheen knew that no matter what our circumstances may be, the deadliest enemy we face is armed not with a gun but with temptation. In dangerous, uncertain times like ours, the Devil lures us quickly into lust, anger, hatred, and despair. Fulton Sheens Wartime Prayer Book will help keep you from these vices so that you, too, can put on the armor of God and triumph over evil in our day.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6th ~ St. Nicholas vs Santa Claus

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Today is the feast of St. Nicholas! St. Nicholas Day has always been a special day around here. We often would have a puppet show, inviting the cousins or grandchildren over to join in the fun. But even if that wasn’t on the “menu” we made sure and had our stockings ready to be filled!

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

On December 6 comes the feast of the Christmas saint, St. Nicholas, although most of our celebration of this feast comes on his vigil, December 5.

We find a puppet show a delightful way to tell his story, explain his relation to the Christ Child, and introduce the hanging of stockings for his feast day.

St. Nicholas was really a Turk born in Asia Minor. For a long time he was Bishop of Myra (near the southern coast of Turkey to the right of the Island of Rhodes – in case you look for it on a map).

An orphan, he grew in love of God, became a priest, and made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to venerate the places of our Lord’s life.

On the voyage, a terrible storm threatened to sink the ship, but by his prayers all were saved.

For this reason he is venerated as patron of boatmen, fishermen, dock workmen, and sailors.

Returning to his native land, he was made a bishop; his generosity and love for the poor and for children, as well as his many miracles, endeared him to Christian people all over the world.

He is also venerated as the patron of scholars, coopers and brewers, travelers and pilgrims, those who have unjustly lost a lawsuit, and as patron and annual benefactor of schoolchildren (especially boys), and is invoked against robbers and (in Holland) for protection of seafaring men.

Many legends surround St. Nicholas, among them the one saint story I personally cannot abide: the tale of the three little boys murdered and salted down in a tub is too much.’ We never tell it.

The story we like best is the well-known tale of the three marriageable daughters who were nevertheless unmarriageable for want of dowries. Hearing of their plight, the saint went silently by their house one night and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the oldest, who not long after found a husband for herself with no trouble at all.

Then he crept by a second time and tossed a bag of gold through the window for the second daughter, who likewise was suddenly at no loss for suitors.

As he was about to toss the gold through the window for the third daughter, the father of the girls caught sight of him.

Throwing himself at his feet, he thanked him, confessed his sins, begged his blessing. Plainly it is from this story that the tradition has grown wherein St. Nicholas is said to leave gifts, candies, and sweets on windowsills, in shoes, and even in the stockings of good little children.

It is the Dutch diminutive Sinter Klaas (“Sant Nikolaas”) that became, by way of the New Amsterdam Dutch, the familiar American Santa Claus.

It is among the Dutch also that we find the appearance of Black Peter, his page, who follows him, distributing switches, coal, straw – whatever – to the naughty children as St. Nicholas gives treats to the good. Black Peter appeared in the Dutch festival after the invasion of Holland by the Spaniards, who brought black servants with them.

“Telling the truth about Santa Claus” need not rob children of their Christmas magic. It adds to it with another feast to celebrate, another saint to know and love, another emphasis gently persuading them to meditate on the coming of the divine Child.

And if we really fear to take away that part of it which is surprise, that marvelous moment Christmas morning when the presents are at last mysteriously there, be assured the little ones continue to pretend.

Our littlest ones, knowing the truth, continue to pretend that it is all assembled in the most mysterious and magical fashion.

“But – then – who gives us the presents?” children will ask. “Who loves you most in all the world gives you the presents.”

“Who is that?”

“You guess.”

They screw up their faces, think hard. Then suddenly all brighten: “You – and Daddy, and Grandma and Granny!”

It is like the circle that never ends. God loves mothers and fathers and gives them children they will love, and they teach the children about God, and the children love God, and since God wants them all with Him in Heaven, He sends His Son who loves them so much that He gives up His life for them, and that is so much love that it pays for their sins and buys back Heaven for them….

At Christmas everyone is so happy about all this that we all give each other presents. Shouldn’t that be the reason we give and receive presents?

It would be a little embarrassing to be asked, “Don’t you think the Christ Child is an adequate substitute for Santa Claus?” and feel you must answer no.

He really is and He must become the all of Christmas for families who are going to try to live lives of deep faith.

It is not really worth it to toss in this “little white lie” when we are trying so hard to teach children impeccable truthfulness.

Probably not all children who discover there is no Santa, when they have been told by their parents that there is, will consider their parents dyed-in-the-wool liars, but there is the danger that they will discount some of every other truth they are taught.

This is an age when accuracy and unadorned truthfulness are not particularly in vogue.

Yet a concern to speak the utter truth in everything will teach a child better than anything else how to be utterly truthful himself, how to be honest with his own conscience – which is the same thing as being honest with God.

Santa Claus is not a serious lie, but St. Nicholas in his rightful place, gazing with us at the Christ Child, is a much lovelier truth.

One thing, however, it is not cricket to do: go about the neighborhood telling all the children who do believe in Santa Claus that “there is none.”

This kind of revelation is guaranteed to leave nothing but heartache behind. Without proper explanation or background, it is really cheating a child of something he dearly loves.

Most children can learn to keep their own counsel about this; where there is disparity on the subject in the neighborhood, with love and tact the mothers can explain and help prevent unpleasant exchanges.

One of the traps into which most parents of goodwill eventually fall before Christmas has arrived is to shout in the heat of some shortness of tempers: “How do you expect to get presents on Christmas if you aren’t good now?”

No sooner are the words out of your mouth than you could bite off your tongue. But it has been said. The ugly implication is there: you might not get presents for Christmas.

St. Nicholas’s feast is an ideal time for straightening out this problem of being good and not being good before Christmas.

It is true that the issue should have something to do with the end result, but when we threaten this way, we forget that the reason God the Father sent the Christ Child wasn’t because everyone had been good, but because they hadn’t been good.

To transfer the burden of the “be good or else” problem to St. Nicholas is infinitely more comfortable.

Here the threat involves no more than a stockingful of cookies, but it is a prospect sufficiently dreadful to give them pause.

It also involves a happy solution to the naughtiness. No good behavior – no cookies. It usually works (I speak from experience).

The shock of seeing that you meant what you said, of hearing St. Nicholas warn you the night before and discovering he meant what he said, is most salutary.

Most enfants terribles will stand dolefully watching the more virtuous munching their cookies and make a superb effort to mend their ways, and yet the event is not of such magnitude that it leaves any permanent scars.

People always ask how we handle the delicate business of sharing should this occasion produce one or two malcontents without cookies.

We are all, of course, very sad to see they have no cookies, but if it is a warning and a punishment, then it is a warning and a punishment.

Character training is involved, and also your own authority. No cookies – shared or otherwise.

 

“Where is the busy mother who cannot find time enough to spend thus a few moments every night with each child before it falls asleep, in sweet, loving talk; and tender, earnest prayer? Far down into the years, the memory of such sacred moments will go, proving thousands of times a light in darkness, an inspiration in discouragement, a secret of victory in hard struggle, a hand to restrain from sin in time of fierce temptation.” -J.R. Miller

St. Nicholas Coloring Pages available here.

Beautiful Vintaj Brass Wire Rosaries! Lovely, Durable…

Review: The rosary is absolutely beautiful. It will be a gift for my husband. I have 2 of her rosaries, one 8 years old. They are well made, in addition to beautiful. No other rosary has survived my little ones tugs.

Available here.

These rosaries are one-of-a-kind and should last a life time…..many Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s!
It would make a beautiful gift for that special someone!

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand.

Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent.

Because of this technique for wrapping wire around itself this craft is called wire wrapping.

Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

Advent wreaths and candles….

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • A Great Family Tradition
  • 11″x14″

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Feast of St. Nicholas with Recipes and Songs & A Puppet Show

Feast of St. Nicholas, Dec. 6th…

Saint Nicholas has been for hundreds of years a popular saint in the East and in the West, greatly famed as a worker of miracles. There are many charming legends concerning him.

One tells of an occasion in heaven when all the saints came together to talk and to drink a little wine. Saint Basil filled the golden cups from the golden jug, and everyone was deep in conversation when it was noticed that Saint Nicholas was nodding. One of the blessed nudged him until he awoke, and asked why he was slumbering in such good company.

“Well, you see,” he told them, “the enemy has raised a fearful storm in the Aegean. My body was dozing perhaps, but my spirit was bringing the ships safe to shore.”

Saint Nicholas is the saint of mariners and also of bankers, pawnbrokers, scholars, and thieves! But he is especially the saint of children, and is known among them in various countries as Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel.

There have even been invented servants to accompany him and to deal with the children who have been bad.

Saint Nicholas is considered too kind to give scoldings and punishments, so, in Austria Krampus, in Germany Knecht Rupprecht, and in Holland, Black Peter goes along with him, armed with a stout switch, while Saint Nicholas himself simply gives and gives.

Another very old legend tells us of the saint’s kindness to the three daughters of a poor nobleman. They were about to be sold into slavery, because they had no dowry, when Saint Nicholas stole to their home and on three nights in succession dropped a bag of gold down the chimney. This is said to explain why three balls are the pawnbrokers’ sign and why the saint drops gifts for children down the chimney.

Devotion to Saint Nicholas began in Asia Minor, where he was a bishop, and it was brought to Russia by an emperor who was witness to some of his miraculous works. It spread through Lapland and into Scandinavia, to other European countries, and finally to America.

Up to that time Saint Nicholas had been pictured as a lean and ascetic bishop. In America, he became fat and jolly, and his miter was turned into a winter cap, his vestments into a snow suit. But he has kept his reindeer from Lapland, his propensity for chimneys acquired in Asia Minor, and the generosity of his heart.

A French legend tells that long ago Our Lady gave Lorraine to Saint Nicholas as a reward for his kindness to the world. He is still the special patron of that province and on his eve children hang up their stocking, saying:

Saint Nicolas, mon bon patron Envoyez-moi quelqu’ chose de bon.

In Holland Saint Nicholas puts in an appearance on the eve of his feast. As the children sing, the door flies open and on the floor drop candies and nuts–right on a white sheet that has been spread out just in case.

And after he has gone, there is hot punch and chocolate and boiled chestnuts served with butter and sugar. And in the morning, children find in the shoes they have set before the fire toys and many other good things–candy hearts and spice cakes, “letterbankets,” which were candies or cakes in the form of the child’s initials, ginger cakes or “taai-taai” in patterns of birds and fish and the form of the saint himself. He also brings a hard cooky, called “Speculaus.”

Speculaus

1/2 cup butter 2-1/2 cups cake flour 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 egg 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 lemon rind, grated 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg, and continue beating. Add the grated lemon rind and the flour sifted with the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Let the dough rest overnight in a cool place. Roll out as thinly as possible– about the thickness of the back of a knife blade. Cut into desired shape and bake at 350 degrees F. for fifteen to twenty minutes.

In Switzerland Saint Nicholas parades the streets, his arms full of red apples, cookies, and prunes for the children who crowd to him. In Austria and Germany he throws gilded nuts in at the door while Rupprecht and Krampus, the spoilsports, throw in a few birch twigs.

In Poland if there is a red sunset on Saint Nicholas’ Day, it is because the angels are busily baking the Saint’s Honey Cakes.

Ciastka Miodowe (Honey Cakes)

1/2 cup honey 1 teaspoon soda 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 egg yolks 1/4 teaspoon cloves 4 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Warm the honey slightly and combine with the sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Sift the flour with the soda and spices and stir into the honey batter thoroughly. Let the dough rest overnight. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out with a cooky cutter. Brush with the slightly beaten white of an egg, press half a blanched almond into each cooky and bake at 375 degrees F. for about fifteen minutes.

Songs:

Below is two renditions of the St. Nicholas song courtesy of the St. Nicholas Center. I always liked the tune of Jolly Old St. Nicholas but the words are silly. So here is a chance to sing it with some good words!

Song 1:

Saint Nicholas Song
Song tells the story of Saint Nicholas

Thankful Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
when he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
Rich folk came to Nicholas,
Bringing wealth to share,
so it could be sent to those living in despair.

Three maidens husbands could not find,
their father was so poor;
No dowry was available, to tempt a suitor’s lore.
Word came to youthful Nicholas,
who acted in good taste,
In darkness threw three bags of gold,
retreating in great haste.

Zealous Bishop Nicholas,
born in Pa-tar-a,
Was the Bishop of My-ra
in times of great trial.
Who suffered prison for his faith,
Through torture still held firm,
Released by Constantine the Great,
to My-ra he returned.

Holy Bishop Nicholas,
The sailors patron saint,
saved the storm-tossed mariners
from a salty fate.
Who at Nicea formed the creed—
but jail became his fate,
He punched a pastor in the jaw,
so heated the debate.

Patron Saint of children,
Saint Nicholas did become,
giving gifts at Christmas time,
a special act of love.
His style was different from his peers,
as they would often see,
“Give to the truley needy ones
with a-non-ym-i-tee.”

Gentle Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
When he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
We too must always seek to share,
our means with those in need,
God help us imitate this saint,
on Advent winter eves.

Song 2:

The Song of St. Nicholas
To the tune of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”

Once upon a long ago
Very far away,
In the town of Bethlehem
Lying in some hay,
Jesus came for you and me
Bringing heaven’s love
As a gift for us to have
From the Lord above.

In the town of Myra once
Also long ago,
Lived good Bishop Nicholas
Hair as white as snow.
Nicholas loved Jesus who
Loved and helped us all.
“I will do the same,” said he
“Helping great and small.”

Thankful Bishop Nicholas
Friendly, good and wise;
When he could, helped the poor
Always by surprise.
Rich men came to Nicholas
Bringing wealth to share
So it could be sent to those
Living in despair.

We should be like Nicholas
Thankful, good and kind,
Loving those who need our help
All the ones we find.
Jesus and Saint Nicholas
Taught us how to give:
Share but never seek rewards,
That is how to live!

A Puppet Show!

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When my older children were young we had a lot of fun putting on a puppet show for the Feast of St. Nicholas. This was the day we gave our children stockings. We set them out on the evening of the 5th after the children were in bed. St. Nicholas Day was greeted with yelps of joy when they saw their goodies in the stockings. It was the one day they were allowed to munch throughout their lessons!

Mary Reed Newland’s book gives instructions on making simple sock puppets for both St. Nicholas and Black Pete.

The following is her suggestion for a play. We used hers and added to it our own touches.

One year we did it all in poem form and another year the puppet, St. Nicholas, threw the stockings out to each child, surprising one of them with a stocking full of straw! It was my brother (he was older) and he got a big kick out of it, but it made the other kid’s eyes open wide in shocked bewilderment! They were all relieved when they found out it was a joke and the recipient received his stocking after all. 🙂

This kind of thing will certainly make the Feast Days come alive for the children!

The following is by Mary Reed Newland The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

germany1-puppet

Everyone assembles after dinner on December 5, the vigil of the feast, and the puppet show begins.

First, St. Nicholas appears, bowing with dignity and murmuring, “Thank you, thank you,” to the shouts and clapping.

He has a Dutch accent (just for merriment), and if your accent isn’t all it might be, frequent interpolations of “Ja, ja” convince all present that it is superb.

“Good evening, little children,” he says. “I am St. Nicholas. Ja – a real saint I am, in Heaven now, and my feast is celebrated tomorrow. You are going to celebrate my feast? Ja? Good!

“I am not, you know, the reason for Christmas. Although I am sometimes called Santa Claus, I am not the reason for Christmas. Oh, no. Baby Jesus is the reason for Christmas. It is His birthday, Christmas, the day His Father in Heaven gave Him to all of us.

“I am waiting in Heaven, now, like you on earth, for His birthday on Christmas Day. And do you want to know something? That is why I gave gifts to little children when I was on earth! Because I was so grateful to God the Father for giving Jesus to me.

That is why we give each other presents on Christmas Day, because we are full of joy and gladness that Jesus came down to be one of us and to die to pay for our sins.

“Now, here is something you may do for my feast, and it pleases me very much. You hang your stockings tonight, and if you are very good children, you will get cookies in them!

But if you are bad…. Ahhh, if you are bad, you will get – not cookies – but straw!

Black Peter will put straw in your stockings.”

Up pops Black Peter, giggling and snickering and wagging his hands at the audience, which promptly rolls on the floor and shrieks.

The bishop is grave. “Peter! Peter! Behave yourself, or I will have to use a switch on you! Peter, you are going to put straw in some stockings? Jah?”

Peter looks coy, cocks his head, and makes odd noises that say neither aye nor nay.

“Ah, he will not tell. Peter, be fair now. No straw for the good children, you know. But be honest as well – straw for the naughty ones!”

Peter snickers again, wags at the children, then turns and throws himself on the bishop, arms around his neck, mewing noisily.

As the bishop nods his head paternally, Peter slyly turns to the children, waves a free arm and giggles.

Then he quickly buries his head in the bishop’s shoulder again.

After this you can have Peter sing a song or two, and the bishop can end the play with a hymn and lead the children in a little prayer or two, asking for the grace to be good and to love little Jesus with all their hearts. Then it is all over.

All go rushing about looking for stockings, full of high hopes for cookies – which, of course, they have spent the afternoon helping to make (or seen Mother buy).

The following morning tells the tale, and it is sometimes a mixture of fun and bittersweet. We have a little friend named Teddy who was unable to bear the suspense; so he bade his sister look in his stocking for him.

When she reported, “Cookies!” he was so amazed (what with the weight of his past sins pressing so hard upon him) that he gasped, “Are you sure?”

Another Puppet Show Idea with Audio…

This is a link for the audio to the Puppet Show below.

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Below is the script for the Play.

St. Nicholas Puppet Show
Puppets:
St. Nicholas
Papa
Slave Trader
Matchmaker
3 sisters: Anastasia
Cecilia
Agnes

Lights out.
St. Nicholas (appears in front of backdrop of village): Hello, girls and boys. Hello, my friends. How are you? Do you know who I am? Yes, that’s right. I am St. Nicholas, and sometimes people call me Santa Claus. I am the patron saint of children, because I love every one of you. I like to give gifts to the good children, too. I want to tell you a story of something that happened a long time ago when I lived in Myra where I was the bishop. Once I was walking down the street in a very poor part of the town. I heard singing coming from one of the huts. I went closer to hear better, and this is what I saw through the window.

(Curtain rises to show interior of peasant hut. Papa is in one corner, with his back to audience, and his head in his hands. Sometimes he takes a drink from a bottle. Matchmaker is in another corner, watching the 3 girls)

Anastasia, Cecilia, and Agnes (singing and dancing a little): Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch.

Anastasia: Oh, Matchmaker, have you spoken to the miller about his son, Basil? He is sooooo handsome.

Cecilia: Handsome? Goodness, Anastasia, the miller’s son always has a bit of white flour on the tip of his nose!

Matchmaker: A little flour improves the complexion, I always say. I will speak to the miller as soon as your father tells me how much dowry he can provide.

Papa: (groans)

Agnes: Matchmaker, have I told you yet how much I like the butcher’s son, John?

Anastasia: Only about a thousand times!

Cecilia: But, Agnes, don’t you notice that the butcher’s son always smells like sausages?

Matchmaker: And it’s a very good smell. I will speak to the butcher as soon as your father tells me how much dowry he can give you.

Anastasia: And, what about you, Cecilia? Which young man do you have your eye upon?

Matchmaker: Simon, the blacksmith, is looking for a wife.

Cecilia: Oh, no. His hands are always black.

Anastasia: Then he won’t mind eating your cooking when the meat gets charred.

Agnes: (Laughs)

Cecilia: You are the one who chars the meat, dear Anastasia, whenever we get the chance to have some.

Agnes: We are much to poor to eat meat, so why argue about it? Matchmaker, what other men are available?

Matchmaker: Well, there is Matthew the sign painter.

Cecilia: Why, he is almost blind.

Anastasia: A perfect match: with your plain looks and his poor eyesight, you’ll surely be happy.

Cecilia: My plain looks! Why, you–

Agnes: Who else do you have, Matchmaker?

Matchmaker: Well, I could speak to Jude, the horse trader.

Cecilia: What? He is so old and deaf!

Matchmaker: He’s only 62, or is it 72?

Anastasia: A proper, mature bridegroom! And, just think, since he is deaf, he won’t be able to hear your bad singing!

Cecilia: No, no, no. None of them. I will whisper the name of the one I want to marry in your year, Matchmaker. (She whispers)

Matchmaker: Oh, what are you thinking? His father is the richest man in the city. How much of a dowry is your papa going to give you?

Papa: (groans) Nothing! I have no dowry at all to give them. And I can’t give you any money, either, Matchmaker. I have lost my job, and I spent my last shilling on this bottle of wine.

Agnes: (In great consternation) No money! No dowry!

Anastasia: What will we do?

Cecilia: How will we live?

Matchmaker: How will they find husbands?

Papa: I don’t know. I don’t know.

Slave Trader: (enters) Excuse me, good sir, but I heard a rumor that you are in trouble. You have no money. You can’t buy food, or pay your rent. You can’t get husbands for your daughters. But this is your lucky day. I can help you.

Anastasia: Oh, yes, please help us.

Agnes: We want to get married.

Slave Trader: (Laughs evilly) Ha, ha, ha. You girls won’t have to worry about getting a husband. You won’t need a dowry.

Matchmaker: What do you mean, you slimy snake?

Slave Trader: Me, a slimy snake? Why, I only want to help this unfortunate downtrodden man!

Papa: How can you help me?

Slave Trader: Send the dear girls away and I will tell you.

Papa: Go out, all of you.

Girls: Yes, Papa.

Slave Trader: You must go too, my darling Matchmaker.

Matchmaker: (To Papa) Watch out. He is up to no good!

Slave Trader: Oh, how you insult me. I have a very good plan to assist this poor miserable fellow.

Matchmaker: Hmmph. Your plan may be good for you, but not for him.

Slave Trader: Arrivaderci. Bye-bye. Out you go.

(Girls and Matchmaker exit.)

Slave Trader: Now, my friend. I know how you can get a lot of money, and very easily. You won’t have to lift a finger and all your troubles will be gone.

Papa: (eagerly) What is it? Tell me.

Slave Trader: I will buy your daughters.

Papa: Buy them!

Slave Trader: They are nice, strong young girls. I will pay one thousand shillings.

Papa: No! No! No!

Slave Trader: You don’t understand, my friend. I mean, one thousand shillings, each.

Papa: But, you will make them slaves!

Slave Trader: Yes, but you will have plenty of money.

Papa: But, they will be miserable.

Slave Trader: Yes, but they will be glad to help their poor papa.

Papa: One thousand shillings each!

Slave Trader: Yes. Do we have a deal? Make up your mind quickly.

Papa: But–

Slave Trader: Act now. You won’t get this chance again.

Papa: But–

Slave Trader: Here is a bonus: you won’t have to spend a cent on feeding or clothing them after they are gone.

Papa: Let me think about it. Come back tomorrow.

Slave Trader: (On his way out) Don’t forget, this offer is only good for a limited time.

Papa: (Pushing Slave Trader) Get out of here.

Slave Trader: It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Papa: (Gives him a shove) GET OUT!

(Slave Trader exits. Door slams. Papa paces back and forth. )

Papa: Oh, what should I do?

( Curtain closes. Scene changes to village street.)

St. Nicholas: Well, this was a terrible situation for those poor girls. Their papa had almost made up his mind to sell them for slaves. What could I do to help them? I remembered that I had some money saved up. I had thought about taking a trip to visit some holy places, but that money I saved for the trip was needed desperately right now. So that night, I quietly came back, with 3 small sacks of gold. I climbed up on the roof of that little hut. Yes, even at my age with my white beard, I managed to get up there. I silently dropped those sacks of gold down into the chimney. Now, watch what happened the next morning.

(St. Nicholas exits. Scene changes to inside of hut. Papa enters and paces back and forth, groaning)

Papa: Oh, morning is here and I still don’t know what to do. That wicked slave trader will be here soon to buy the girls. I must sell them. I can’t afford to keep them and feed them.

Girls: (enter happily, humming “Matchmaker”)

Anastasia: Good morning, dear Papa.

Agnes: Did you sleep well, Papa?

Cecilia: What did that man want yesterday? He said he would help you get rich. If you get rich, you can give all 3 of us dowries.

Papa: Never mind what he said. It’s cold. Make a fire. Use up the last of our sticks of wood. Hurry up. Get busy.

(3 Girls go to fireplace)

Anastasia: What is this in the fireplace?

Agnes: It looks like 3 bags.

Anastasia: What is in them?

Cecilia: Let me see. (She takes the bags and looks in them)

Agnes: Maybe the 3 bags are 3 gifts for the 3 of us girls.

Cecilia: Look! They are full of coins.

Agnes: Coins!

Anastasia: Where did they come from?

Cecilia: Maybe someone dropped them down the chimney.

Agnes: There is enough money here for us to have dowries.

Anastasia: Hurray!

Papa: What is this? Money?

Cecilia: Look, Papa! 3 bags of coins, one for each of us. We can get married now.

Papa: Is it a miracle?

Slave Trader: (enters) Good morning, my friends. You all look very cheerful today. You must have made up your mind to accept my generous offer.

Papa: You are wrong. We don’t need your dirty money, Slave Trader.

Slave Trader: But–

Papa: Heaven has helped us, and answered my daughters’ prayers.

Slave Trader: But–

Papa: Get out of my house.

Slave Trader: But–

Papa: And never come back! (He shoves Slave Trader out)

Matchmaker: (enters) I just saw that slimy snake, the Slave Trader running out your door. He looked very upset. What happened to him?

Papa: (chuckles) He missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Matchmaker: I am very glad to hear it.

Papa: And now, Matchmaker, you shall make some matches for my girls. Find them the very best men you can. Girls, show the matchmaker what you found in the fireplace this morning.

Cecilia: Look, we have dowries.

Matchmaker: 3 Bags of money! Praise be to God.

Papa: Let us all kneel down and thank the good God for his mercy to a poor sinner and his family.

(Curtain closes. Scene changes to street scene again)

St. Nicholas (enters): And so the 3 girls all got married, and were very happy. Papa was happy, too, and so was the Matchmaker, and so was I. Did you know that one of the best ways to find joy, is to give gifts to others? I hope that if you ever have the chance to be generous and to give a gift to someone who needs it, you will remember this story and how happy it makes everyone when you give a good gift. God bless you.

[Now how many of you are good children? I will give all of the good children a little coin to help you remember this story. But, if you have been naughty, I will give you a lump of coal. ] (Puppeteers come out for applause and to give out candy coins)

“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. MIller

A great Christmas gift idea… The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.

Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

 

We Await A Savior ~ The Advent Wreath

Advent season is around the corner! Do you have your Advent Wreath ready?

The time we spend with our families incorporating the rich traditions of the Church will ingrain in our children a love of our Holy Religion. We are creating a legacy that will be passed on through generations…

by Helen McLoughlin

Advent is the beginning of the new liturgical year. It is a season of spiritual preparation, marked by eager longing for the coming of the Savior through grace at Christmas, and for His second and final coming. It is also an ideal time to establish in our homes liturgical customs which will restore our children to
Christ.

In our family we use these age-old Advent practices to help our children live closer to Christ and His Church during the pre-Christmas season. Time-tested and proven, the customs teach the doctrines of redemption and develop a generosity with God and a coordination of the family’s spiritual efforts as effectively now as they did for our forebears. Their strong and living faith will be the heritage of our children if family religious practices, centered in the Liturgy, “the normal school of sanctity for the laity,” become established in our homes.

Secularism has invaded our households. The Bishops of the United
States have warned us that “the Christian must make his home holy–the Christian must realize the Christian ideal.”

Father Edgar Schmiedler, O.S.B., in his three excellent pamphlets, “Your
Home a Church in Miniature,” says of family customs and blessings: “They are a relatively simple, but highly important, means of union between altar and home. They are a media for channeling from one great spiritual reservoir, given into the Church’s keeping by Christ, the living and transforming waters of grace from the Saviour’s fountain.”

Children, who love the beauty and simplicity of family religious practices, make the traditions easy to establish. As a rule it is best to begin with one or two customs and add others in years to come.

It is also highly desirable that families develop their own special customs, at least by adapting traditional ones to their personal circumstances. Once established, customs recall to older members of the family long forgotten practices of their own childhood. These have a special appeal because they belonged to our forefathers and link us to the wealth of national customs now fallen into disuse.

ADVENT WREATH

Most popular of the Advent customs handed down to us is the Advent wreath made of evergreens, bound to a circle of wire.
German in origin–it was taken, so we are told, from the pagan fire wheel–the wreath represents the cycle of thousands of years from Adam to Christ during which the world awaited the coming of a Redeemer. It also represents the cycle of years since then that we have been awaiting His second and final coming in glory.

It bears four candles, equally spaced, three purple ones to be lighted on the “penitential” Sundays, and a rose-colored one for Gaudete, the joyful Sunday in Advent. Candles may be placed inside or outside the wreath.

Any kind of Christmas wreath such as those hung in windows may be used. It may be set on a kitchen or dining room table, on an end table in the living room, or in a child’s bedroom. However, it is most appealing when suspended by four purple ribbons from a light fixture in the ceiling.

When our children were small we bought a large, permanently preserved pine wreath and used it year after year. Now that they are going to school they help to make a new one each Advent.
Inexpensive and easy to assemble is the wreath we make from a bunch or two of laurel leaves bound to a circle of wire from coat hangers. The evergreens are secured by fine wire to the circle.
Candles and ribbons are added as the wreath is put together. Laurel is practical because it does not shed when suspended over the dining room table. Moreover, laurel is a symbol of victory, and thus reminds us that Christ’s coming means victory over sin and death.

Loveliest of wreaths and fragrant, too, is one of fresh princess pine. When we use that type, we hang it in the living room and add a single silver star to it each evening inAdvent when the candles are lighted for prayers. Stars are cut from metallic paper.

City dwellers may make an attractive wreath of fireproof green paper, while country folks will find a metal barrel hoop ideal as a frame for whatever evergreens are at hand. In our children’s classrooms in Corpus Christi School, New York City, Advent greens are sometimes kept fresh in inexpensive plastic rings.

The home ceremony for use of the Advent wreath is simple. It consists of Collects, hymns and prayers proper to the Advent season. We have put it together as follows. On the first Sunday of Advent, our family gathers for the blessing of the wreath by father, who begins:

Father: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

All answer: Who made heaven and earth.

Father: Let us pray. O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

He sprinkles the wreath with holy water. Then Myles, our youngest child, lights the first candle, and the prayer for the first week is said.

Father: Let us pray. Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, O Lord, and come, so that we may escape through Thy protection and be saved by Thy help from the dangers that threaten us because of our sins. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

During the first week one candle is left burning during the evening meal, at prayers or at bedtime.

Two candles are lit on the second Sunday and allowed to burn as before. The prayer for the week is:

Father: Let us pray. O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure souls. Through the same Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Three candles, including the rose candle, are lit on Gaudete, the third Sunday, and during that week. The following prayer is said:

Father: Let us pray. We humbly beg Thee, O Lord, to listen to our prayers; and by the grace of Thy coming bring light into our darkened minds. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

All four candles are lit on the fourth Sunday and allowed to burn as before. The prayer said the fourth week is:

Father: Let us pray. Stir up Thy might, we pray Thee, O Lord, and come; rescue us through Thy great strength so that salvation, which has been hindered by our sins, may be hastened by the grace of Thy gentle mercy. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

At the end of Advent, candles and ribbons are changed to white, evergreens renewed if necessary, and tiny Christmas balls added to decorate the wreath. We hang ours in the entrance hall where it adds a festive note to the house and gives us a chance to explain the wreath to neighbors and tradespeople who have not seen it previously. The wreath, unless it sheds, is kept until Epiphany.

“At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.”
(Illustration: Angelo von Courten,1848 – 1925)

Coloring pages for your children…

  

Advent Journal Printable available here.

Take a peek at these lovely aprons! Fully lined, quality material, made with care and detail. Available here.

An Englishman living as a monk in the Italian Alps is called to England to rebut and neutralize the efforts of an aggressively hostile anti-Catholic to proselytize the English.

Seriously wounded at the siege of Pamplona in 1521, Don Inigo de Loyola learned that to be a Knight of God was an infinitely greater honor (and infinitely more dangerous) than to be a Knight in the forces of the Emperor. Uli von der Flue, humorous, intelligent and courageous Swiss mercenary, was responsible for the canon shot which incapacitated the worldly and ambitious young nobleman, and Uli became deeply involved in Loyola’s life. With Juanita, disguised as the boy Juan, Uli followed Loyola on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to protect him, but it was the saint who protected Uli and Juan. Through Uli’s eyes we see the surge and violence of the turbulent period in Jerusalem, Spain and Rome.
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Living Advent and Christmas With Intention

A throwback and a reminder….

Here we are, with Christmas around the corner. Busy times are ahead!

This is our reminder to stop and smell …. the evergreens and the cinnamon along the way!

Our traditions and customs are important. My daughter, Theresa and I made a video last year about all the Advent Customs we do in our homes. They keep us busy! And, in the last couple of weeks things will ramp up with baking, wrapping gifts, decorating our home and tree, etc. These things ARE important…after all, Jesus, Our Lord, is coming! Oh yes!

In this hubbub, I want to remind you (and me) of something my mom drove home to me over the years….that “people are more important than things”…and schedules…and work, etc.

One time my mom was in the attic with her mom, my Grandma. Grandma was going through an old trunk that had some special “treasures” kept through the years. Grandma’s family was poor; they had nine children and lived in an old farmhouse. Grandma’s eyes began to fill with tears as she stroked a piece of pretty material found in the timeworn chest.

She said, “I wish I had given this material to your sister when she asked for it years ago. I thought I would use it some day…it was too pretty to hand over to her. She wanted so bad to practice her sewing. And now she is married and moved out…and I missed that opportunity.”

It was just a little thing…but a great lesson to remember….

Don’t lose sight of the people you love. Don’t put them on the back burner.

In the past year I have been very much reminded of this. Last year, close to this time, my brother, Steve, was found in his trailer, passed away. That was very hard….and my other brothers and I regretted the words unsaid and the phone calls that should have been made in spite of Steve’s past mistakes.

A year later my mom, as you know, left us. Another blow. One that has left a great hole in our lives.

I know you all have felt different tragedies in your own lives.

We never know the time nor the hour when one of our family or friends will be called. Not that we are to live in fear…but this is a reminder…let’s live with intention….and don’t take your loved ones for granted among the busy-ness of the season!

Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.

You will never have this day again. You will never cross this moment of time again. Use it wisely.

What are some little ways you can make this a reality?

Stop what you are doing and greet your husband when he comes home, listen to him even if you’re busy with holiday preparations.

Have dinner ready, if you can. Let him know he is special.

Look and listen, really listen, when your child is talking to you.

Read them a Christmas bedtime story…make this a habit.

Let them bake cookies with you…in spite of the mess and the fact that it would be easier to do it on your own. What child doesn’t like to sit on the counter, legs dangling, while holding the mixer or cracking the eggs!? (Be ready to fish out the eggshells!)

Train yourself to see the positive in those you rub shoulders with each day. It will have its effiects, I guarantee!

Do you have an elderly parent you need to spend time with? Do it! Do you have a difficult sibling that you find it hard to be kind to? Be kind!

Yes, we will do our baking, our wrapping, our tree….but let’s not get too wound up! Let’s not take on so much that we are totally stressed out. Not worth it.

Fr. Jacque Philippe:

“I often say jokingly that the ladder of perfection has only one step: the step we take today.

Without concerning ourselves about the past or the future, we can decide to believe today, place all our trust in God today, love God and neighbor today.

Whether our good resolutions produce success or failure, next day we can begin again, not relying on our strength but only on God’s faithfulness.”

Life happens in the moments. If we take on way too much we get frustrated. Then the daily things…reading a story, wiping a nose, listening to others, is done begrudgingly.

Remember these little things are the ones that make memories, create atmosphere and build relationships.

One last thing from St. Francis de Sales (who doesn’t love this quote?!)

“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself…do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.”

Advent is a new season of the Church. Every time we pick ourselves up, it is a new season. Don’t ever get discouraged.

So…this Advent and Christmas live with intention. And remember, Ladies, that your life as a homemaker is very important. And your joyful presence in the home is more important than any of the presents under the tree!

Each day is a chance to grow in virtue and it begins with the little things. Show your husband you care…listen to him, smile at him, give him a hug when he doesn’t expect it. Your children are watching and courtesy and love are contagious! This Advent can be special…. it starts with you! -Finer Femininity

        Little Lady’s Charming Crocheted Party/Church-Going Hats!

Your little special lady will look charming in this beautiful handcrafted Crocheted Hat! Every flower, petal and bow is hand made with care. The unique combination of colors will add the final touch of elegance to your little girls outfit! Available here.

Our attitude changes our life…it’s that simple. Our good attitude greatly affects those that we love, making our homes a more cheerier and peaceful dwelling! To have this control…to be able to turn around our attitude is a tremendous thing to think about!
This Gratitude Journal is here to help you focus on the good, the beautiful, the praiseworthy. “For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 – Douay Rheims).
Yes, we need to be thinking of these things throughout the day!
You will be disciplined, the next 30 days, to write positive, thankful thoughts down in this journal. You will be thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people you are grateful for, lovely and thought-provoking Catholic quotes, thoughts before bedtime, etc. Saying it, reading it, writing it, all helps to ingrain thankfulness into our hearts…and Our Lord so loves gratefulness! It makes us happier, too!
Available here.

Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.

You’ll learn how to grow in wisdom and in love as you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages. As the author says: If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day the precious bits of wool she s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.

This remarkable book will show you how to start weaving love into the tapestry of your marriage today, as it leads you more deeply into the joys of love.

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St. Andrew Novena Starts Today!

This Novena starts today, November 30th!  Many blessings abound!!

From The Rosary and Gifts

A Favorite Christmas Novena ~
The St Andrew Novena

The Christmas Novena, the St Andrew Novena  (November 30th – December 24th), is I believe, one of the most popular Catholic Advent prayers.

My family and I love to say this novena each year in preparation for Advent. We offer the intention as a family intention, one we wish to gain for the family as a whole, and also a private intention, one that each one of us would like to gain like a particular virtue or help in fighting against a vice.

Because the prayer is longer than nine (9) days, and not quite 27, it’s technically not a novena or a set of novenas, but, because it is prayed ‘novena style’, that is, repeatedly for a set amount of days, it is referred to as a novena.

In my family, we have found that we remember to say the novena best when we attach it to our daily Rosary. We set the slips of paper that we have written or printed the prayer out on next to our Rosary bowl. I do know other families say this novena with their grace before dinner while they light the candles as part of their Advent wreath prayers.

The prayer can be said at anytime during the day, but if you have a regular time the whole family is together like for the Rosary, morning/night prayers, or at meals, it might be a good idea to say the novena at a set, regular time.

Imagine a child who loves you…he is willing to do just about anything in his power to please you.

NOW imagine the Christ-Child. He too is willing to do just about anything for you. Everything is in His power to do and to give, as long as the petitioned favor isn’t contrary to what Our Lord deems necessary for your eternal salvation. This is an important caveat that I have trouble remembering! 😉

In this Advent season of preparing for Christ’s coming, the St Andrew Christmas Novena is a loving way to prepare ourselves and our families.

St Andrew holds the honor of being the first apostle to be called by Christ to follow Him.

This novena is a bit different in that it does not invoke the intervention or aid of the saint himself, but is adoring, glorifying the hour of Christ’s birth and seeking aid from God Himself!

The novena is begun on the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30th, and is said thru Christmas Eve, December 24th.

**(If you start late, or if you miss a day do not be discouraged! Catch up by saying the extra prayers you missed along the way….Jesus will bless every effort!)

St Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.  In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Recite 15 times per day. It is permitted to break it up and pray 5x’s in the morning, afternoon and evening, but for the sake of missing one of the times and forgetting, I prefer to say them all at once.

Prepare for Miracles!

This Advent Chaplet is to keep track of your 15 Christmas Novena prayers. It has a lovely brass crucifix, is durable and wire-wrapped to last for many Advents to come! Limited quantity. 🙂   Included is a laminated prayer card with the novena prayer on it. If you are interested click here.

Review: “Quality materials and workmanship. There will be no losing beads because the wire is beautifully woven in and around each bead itself. The box it came in had a handmade flower glued on it, inside a little ribboned gift bag with the prayer card. It could have been gifted as is. Shipped quickly.

An aside: This chaplet was quickly and accidentally adopted by my four year old because “It’s pretty so its prayers will be pretty.” Well, that isn’t quite the point but I love how little kids’ minds make connections. We prayed 15 Glory Be prayers that day, and the next day 15 little Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity.”

December Planner Printable! Print & Use each year!

~ Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily

Available here.

Review: “I have been looking for a couple of years at getting a pretty pricey Catholic planner. I had a very hard time justifying the cost because, “what if it wasn’t actually useful?” When I saw this I was super excited. I have a printer and the price point was perfect. Even going and buying a fancy binder and pretty paper doesn’t have me close to the other price. Some days I use every aspect and every blank and other days I’m lucky to get one line filled out. Because it is so beautiful and yet so price friendly I do not even have to feel guilty about those days I mostly miss! This has been a Godsend and I am eagerly awaiting the December download! Thank you Leane for another wonderful product!”

Welcome to your Traditional Catholic Printable Month Planner! This printable is for the Month of December and can be printed and used each year! *For personal use only ©Finer Femininity
Following the timeless Traditional Liturgical Calendar, each day you will be reminded of the feast day!
Daily, you will have your hourly planner schedule that you can fill in. There is a space for Daily Goals and an “I am Grateful For” space. Also included is a Spiritual Goals Checklist to remind you of the important foundation of your day!
A Monthly Meal Menu Page is included along with a Monthly Home School Page that you can print out according to how many children you are teaching.
A beautiful quote is on each day of the planner giving you something to think about…Quotes by solid Catholics with their timeless commonsense and knowledge.
Get yourself a pretty binder and you will have a lovely tool to assist you. Your life will run more smoothly as you plan in advance your daily duties…
(Digital Items are non-refundable.)

 

For those who have the Advent Journal, this is your November 30th page that has the heart that can be checked when you have said your novena for that day. Don’t forget! Printable Journal Available Here.

“Children must be taught constantly from their tenderest years to have a real love and friendship for their Angels, to have boundless confidence in them. They must be accustomed to feel and realize the personal presence of their Angels, to call on them in all their fears and troubles.” -Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, All about the Angels

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season…

A unique gift! Make a statement with these lovely and graceful handcrafted aprons….fully lined….made with care. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! Available here.

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • A Great Family Tradition
  • 11″x14″

  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
  • Sits Easily on a Tabletop or any Flat Surface
  • Folds Out to Over 18″x9″

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Christkindl and Other Advent-y Things

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family

After our first gathering around the Advent light, and the singing of the first Advent hymn, an air of expectancy spreads over the family group; now comes the moment when the mother goes around with a bowl in which are the little cards with the names of the new saints.

Everybody draws a card and puts it in his missal. This saint will be invoked every morning after Morning Prayer. Everyone is supposed to look up and study the life story of his new friend, and sometime during the coming year he will tell the family all about it.

As there are so many of us, we come to know about different saints every year. Sometimes this calls for considerable research on the part of the unfortunate one who has drawn St. Eustachius, for instance, or St. Bibiana.

But the custom has become very dear to us, and every year it seems as if the family circle were enlarged by all those new brothers and sisters entering in and becoming known and loved by all.

And then comes another exciting moment. Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around. This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in great secrecy.

The person whose name one has drawn is now in one’s special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can. One has to provide at least one surprise every single day—but without ever being found out.

This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up.

This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child) in the old country, where children believe that the Christmas tree and the gifts under it are brought down by the Christ Child himself.

The beautiful thing about this particular custom is that the relationship is a reciprocal one. The person whose name I have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing these many little acts of love and consideration for someone in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem, according to the word, “And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.”

That is why this particular person turns into “my Christkindl.” At the same time I am the “Christkindl” also for the one I am caring for because I want to imitate the Holy Child and render all those little services in the same spirit as He did in that small house of Nazareth, when as a child He served His Mother and His foster father with a similar love and devotion.

Many times throughout these weeks can be heard such exclamations as, “I have a wonderful Christkindl this year!” or, “Goodness, I forgot to do something for my Christkindl and it is already suppertime!”

It is a delightful custom, which creates much of the true Christmas spirit and ought to be spread far and wide.

And there is still one very important thing to do for Advent. According to Austrian custom, every member of the family writes a letter to the Holy Child mentioning his resolutions for the weeks of Advent and listing all his wishes for gifts. This “Christkindl Brief” (letter to the Holy Child) is put on the window sill, from whence the Guardian Angel will take it up to heaven to read it aloud to the Holy Child.

To make small children (and older ones, too) aware of the happy expectancy of Advent, there is a special Advent calendar which clever hands can make at home.

It might be a house with windows for each day of Advent; every morning the child opens another window, behind which appears a star, an angel, or some other picture appropriate to the season.

On the 23rd, all windows are open, but the big entrance door still is closed. That is opened on Christmas Eve, when it reveals the Holy Child in the manger, or a Christmas tree.

All kinds of variations on this theme are possible, such as the Jacob’s Ladder shown on our illustration, which leads step by step to the day of Christ’s birth. All such little aids make Christmas more wonderful and “special” to a child, and preparing them adds to our own Christmas joy.

{Advent Calendar: Take piece of cardboard; cut out clouds, leaving them attached at one point so that they can fold out. Cut spaces in ladder as on insert so that they can fold down. Take transparent paper same size as cardboard. Paint and draw pictures of stars, angels, toys, etc. on spots behind clouds and ladder steps. For top cloud, put Christmas tree or Christ Child in crib. Paste this on back of calendar. Each day another cloud or ladder step should be opened, until Christmas Eve is reached on top of ladder.}

 
“Where on earth shall we find Jesus but in the arms of Mary! Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist? It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during His mortal life, and that he continues in the Eucharist.” -St. Peter Julian Eymard,
Painting by Nellie Edwards, www.PaintedFaith.net

 

Are you blessed by this site? Consider donating today. Our benefactors are remembered in our daily, family rosaries….

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Catholic Mother Goose, Volumes One and Two!

Advent Journal Printable available here!

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Review: (Thank you Annamaria!)

Love the Advent Journal. A wonderful way to keep my heart, soul and mind on the way toward Christmas …. In fact I am always looking at all the journals put together by Meadows of Grace. Unfortunately I never thought I would be able to purchase this because for Australian customers the postage costs more than than the journal!!!! So I am so grateful and delighted that Leane offers a printable version, so very happy to join with so many others following the journey toward Christmas. God bless you abundantly Leane😘❤️

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Delicious Christmas teas…. I love this brand of tea! What a great Christmas gift idea!


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Giving of Yourself this Advent

Book by Katherine Evans, 1960

Mary Reed Newland The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season  reminds us of the richness of the season of Advent and how we can make it come alive for us and for our children!

From The Year and Our Children:

“Next, there is the all-important matter of a birthday gift for the Light of the World. If there are to be gifts for others, there must first be a gift for Him. It is His birthday, not ours; and what kind of birthday is it when all the gifts go to the wrong people? What kind of gift would He like?

There is a story to tell at the beginning of Advent, about someone who had nothing to give. It illustrates best of all for children how the intangible is to God the most tangible, and makes entirely reasonable to them a scale of values one would suppose far over their heads.

The story is “The Juggler of our Lady.” It is as old as old, but each time it is told, it seems more beautiful.

It is about a monk who had no great talents, who could not illuminate manuscripts or write music or sing songs or paint pictures or compose prayers or do any of the dozens of things the other monks were preparing to do in honor of the Mother of God and her newborn Son.

So he made his way to the crypt below the main altar of his abbey church, and there before her statue, he humbly confessed that he had nothing to give. Unless … but of course. He had been a tumbler and a juggler in the world. Long ago. He had been a rather brilliant tumbler and juggler, if the truth were known. Might she like to see him juggle and tumble?

She was young and happy. She had laughed and clapped her hands. Surely her Child had. Perhaps he could tumble for them, all alone in secret? That is what he would do: give her the only thing he had to give. He would display his talent for the honor and glory of God and the entertainment of the Queen of Heaven.

So he removed his habit down to his tunic, and then he danced. And he leaped and he tumbled and he juggled in the most inspired fashion until finally he fell in a swoon at the feet of his Lady. And while he lay there limp and wet from his efforts, senseless as though he were dead, she stepped down from her pedestal and tenderly wiped the sweat from his brow and sweetly considered the love he had put into this performance for her and her dear Son’s sake.

And this happened every day.

Now, there was another monk there who began to notice that the tumbler came not to Matins and kept watch on him because “he blamed him greatly.”

So he followed closely the movements of the tumbler. One day he followed behind him and carefully hid himself in the recesses of the crypt and witnessed the whole performance. So profoundly was he impressed and inspired that he hied himself straight to the abbot, who prayed God would let him, too, witness this wonder of dancing and juggling for the Mother of God.

And he did see not only the dancing and the juggling and the leaping and the capers but also the Queen of Heaven, in the company of angels and archangels, come down and with her own white mantle fan her minstrel and minister to him with much sweetness.

When it came to pass that the abbot made it known to the minstrel that he had been seen – poor minstrel! He fell to his knees to beg forgiveness and plead with them not to send him out from the monastery.

Which, of course, they did not do but held him in high esteem until the day he died, and there about his bedside they saw the Mother of God and the angels of Heaven receive his soul and carry it to everlasting glory.

Think you now that God would have prized his service if that he had not loved Him? By no means, however much he tumbled…. God asks not for gold or for silver but only for true love in the hearts of men, and this one loved God truly. And because of this, God prized his services.

This, then, is the pattern for the gift: it must be a giving of self.

Our children usually give Him their desserts and treats during Advent except on Sundays, the two feasts, and the two birthdays that we celebrate with special festivities.

These days they give Him something else instead. They try to give more willingly than before their bumps and hurts, and (this really hurts) their will in such matters as being first, sitting by the window in the car, licking the bowl, doing the dishes without being asked, or doing homework first instead of last.

No funnies (especially no Sunday funnies) makes a beautiful gift for the funnies and comic-book addicts, and no radio for the radio fans. No TV is an excruciatingly difficult gift to make but more beautiful for its being difficult; and the Christ Child has a way of giving back more than you have given Him.

Ultimately we must insist on times of quiet, away from the manufactured entertainments of this world, in order to form the habit of recollection.

We are supposed to be contemplatives according to the capacity God has given us – which means that we see the world, ourselves, and all that is created in the right relation to God and that we think on these things often with love.

Whether we will end up “contemplatives” in cloisters or as contemplatives who are farmers, writers, bus drivers, policemen, dancers, whatever – in order to grow, we must be reaching constantly to God with our minds.

We need quiet for the very least of this, for the beginning of meditation.

Parents can begin the process for their children, especially in this wonderful season of Advent!

 

It is not the size of the home or how humble it is. It is not the amount of decorations we have up, it is not the gifts that make Christmas special. It is the people within the home. And you, Mom, have a significant role in this beginning with your attitude. Make this a special season by enveloping those around you with joy! Do your Advent preparations, decorate your home, make it special…but most of all, learn to spread cheer, trying your best to be there to serve others! -Finer Femininity

Beautiful and durable Wire Wrapped Rosaries! A great gift!

Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

Fall candles!

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