Remembering the Reason for the Season

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez - The Philippine Star
Remembering the Reason for the Season

Our Jesse Tree by Mano Amiga is currently available at The Learning Basket (http://facebook.com/thelearningbasket)

Around the same time this year, I wrote about our family Advent traditions. Our family was truly blessed by the beauty of these traditions: the Jesse Tree, the Advent Calendar and the Advent Wreath. We came to appreciate in a deeper way Christ’s love for us — even our little kids learned that Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus’ birthday, and not just about getting presents (though they did get a few presents last year).


Now that Advent is almost here again, we are preparing all the things we’ll need for our traditions, plus adding a few more. I’ll be asking the kids to help me make an Advent banner (or a “Happy Church New Year” banner, since Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year).


We’ll also be doing our “Advent books” tradition — something that we started last year too. I’ll wrap faith-themed and Christmas-themed books selected from our mini-library and have the kids unwrap one book a day (you can see some of the books we used last year here). The children LOVE this and it is a great time for family bonding and discussion about the true meaning of Christmas.


On December 6, we will celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas, who is said to be the inspiration behind the modern-day Santa Claus. As early as now, our son, Timothy, is reminding me to keep their slippers near our front door on that day, so that St. Nicholas can give them coins, just like he did last year. (Of course, you all know who really put them there, right?)


I asked Tim, “What if St. Nicholas doesn’t put anything there? Will that be OK?”


He said, “Of course. But he still might. So don’t forget po, OK, Mama?”


Oh, the innocence of childhood!


On December 8, we Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and on December 12, it is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, so we also plan to incorporate those days in our traditions by doing simple arts and crafts activities focused on Mama Mary. I think it is fitting that we remember our Blessed Mother during the season of Advent — after all, if not for her obedience to the Father, Jesus would not have been born, right?


It is my deepest hope and prayer that by incorporating these elements of our faith in our daily life, our children (and us too!) will grow to love God more and to treasure the traditions of our faith. During this time, when many of us are focused on the trappings and “material” side of Christmas, it is most important to remember the TRUE Reason for the season: Jesus.









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