Happy December to you! Advent, 2014 is HERE friends! I’m still busily preparing our home with little touches here and there, but I think (for the most part) we are ready. This year we did something different to demonstrate the coming of Jesus; we made Mary “Great with Child!” I am the least crafty person in the world, so I really didn’t know if (or how) we could pull it off. As we began to put our Nativity out and little Gus was asking questions about baby Jesus, my mind was racing for a way to help him more fully understand the journey of the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus. I showed him a picture of me when I was pregnant with him (at 3, I’m not sure how much he understood, but he smiled and nodded and it was very cute). So, we decided to take the baby Jesus and also put him in Mary’s tummy until it was “time” for him to be born.
The belly is made with a tiny Christ child wrapped in lots of teddy bear stuffing to form the belly:) We then placed it in a plastic bag and “shaped” it, and wrapped her in a white dress (the bed skirt from the crib) and tied it with a ribbon. It was nice because we just improvised with the things we had on hand. The best kind of projects are free!:) The kids have all commented on Mary’s new “look” several times, so I feel grateful that has made an impact in a visual way. I also can’t stop singing “Labor of Love” from the Nativity Story. “But the baby in her womb, he was the maker of the moon. He was the author of the faith, that could make the mountains move.” I love that!
In the place of the Christ child in the manger, we’ve replaced it with shepherds and a purple candle crown that I found at JoAnn’s:
Everything has been blessed (it’s raining Holy Water and prayers)!:) The Christmas tree, Advent wreath, and the Nativity. Here’s the prayer we used for the Blessing of the Christmas Crib:
A reading from the prophet Isaiah: (Isaiah 9: 1-2, 5)
Let us pray in silence for the coming of peace into the world and into our home.
Lord, as we pray before this our Christmas crib-shrine and await the feast of the Birth of the Holy Child, call forth the dormant child from within each of us; cause us to wonder and to rejoice again in this most ancient feast.
As the magi came bearing gifts, may we, this Christmas, gift one another with the gold of charity, the myrrh of kindness, and the incense of prayer.
With the shepherds, we come to the birth of Christ seeking a simple celebration, where the greatest gift will be ourselves, given to You, our God, and to each other.
May the star of Bethlehem which shone brightly over the first crib stand guard over our home, filling it and all the earth with light and peace.
(sing Silent Night or another carol)
We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You because by Your holy birth You give hope to all the world.
(Fr. Edward Hays)
The Advent wreath is also up with nightly devotions as we gather and light the candle. It might seem weird, but I truly love the darkened house with nothing but a single flame lighting the room. The kids listen more intently, the mood becomes quiet and contemplative (Hallelujah! Ha ha!) and there is a peace that sets in. For the last several years we’ve used “O Radiant Dawn” by Lisa Hendey for our devotion time.
Each week, each candle has a special symbol and meaning. For more information, please check out my post from last Advent with a detailed explanation. We also plan to do our annual “Bethlehem Lantern Walk” around the neighborhood which I will (hopefully) post! These days, I usually post most everything on Instagram (find me at BrookeTaylor955) or on Facebook. I hope you’ll “Like” the brand new Sacred Sink Facebook page if you haven’t already (and if you have, thank you)!
I wish you a wonderful, holy and happy Advent season. The reminder that no one can outdo God in gifts! And may you experience pure joy and peace this Christmas season. God bless you!