Advent - The Mini-Lent

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Advent is only two weeks away!

I was bemoaning to a friend a few weeks ago that I wished it was Lent instead of Advent just around the corner.
Sometimes you could just use a good Lent, ya know?
She pointed out that there was no reason I couldn't make this Advent a mini-Lent: take on a mortification, be more conscientious in my prayers, celebrate the feasts but observe the fasts.

So here is what we have planned for this mini-Lent of an Advent!

This is the dinner after making Advent wreaths with friends last Advent. I just can't get over how much bigger Therese is now! Look at that teething- yet still toothless - baby!

Jesse Tree

This is actually a normal Advent thing, but it is new for our family! Our faith program, Little Lambs, sent us a full set of Jesse Tree ornaments already printed onto cardstock (yea outsourcing creativity!). We're planning on cutting those out, coloring them, and making it part of our evening ritual as a family.

Check out etsy if you would like someone else to get crafty for you! 

Wood burned! So pretty! From etsy shop LazerHouse33

Liturgy of the Hours

I go through waves of being better about remembering to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and others where I feel like a success for remembering to say an extra Hail Mary and grace before meals.

Not perfect here.

But during this Advent I want to be more intentional and connected to the universal church in this time of preparation for the arrival of baby Jesus. Therefore, I will be committing to saying morning and evening prayer.

And not by using the super short one in Magnificat like I sometimes like to do.

My parents got me the four volume set many Christmases ago (thanks Mom and Dad!) so I will be using the Advent/Christmas Season book from that.

This is possible to do even without the books, through sites like, but I like the tactile nature of praying with a physical book. I'm old fashioned that way.

Fasting/Abstaining on Fridays

This is looking more like Lent now, isn't it?

I am planning on fasting and abstaining from meat on all of the Fridays of Advent. 

But I also subscribe to the notion that your mortification should not mortify others. Therefore, this is only in effect as long as it does not create a situation where it would be rude to refuse food, or avoiding normal social situations.

I will let you know how this works out. First time over here too!

Celebrating the Feasts!

If you have ever met me in person, you might have caught on that I enjoy most excuses to celebrate. If it can be themed it probably will be.

There are a few big feasts that we normally celebrate during Advent: St. Nicholas, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and St. Lucia.

St. Nicholas

We hang up stockings during all of Advent, and on St. Nicholas Day morning there is a small surprise to be found inside!

Last year was the first one we celebrated this aspect of St. Nicholas Day with John. He is now under the impression that St. Nicholas only brings trains.
According to his single data point, he's not wrong.

I am still working on building my CCC movie library, but I really enjoyed watching the St. Nicholas CCC movie on this day growing up.

Immaculate Conception

On this day we do a Mary themed craft of some sort, have all white food at dinner, and go to evening mass.

This a holy day of obligation, so that last part is not really optional y'all.

St. Lucia

If you were a girl in the 90's you might have come across the American Girl books. 
I was really into Kirstin. In one book Kirstin celebrates St. Lucia Day. It's a big deal in Sweden, where Kirstin is from, and it involves the oldest girl getting to dress up and wake everyone else up in the house. 
As the oldest of five girls, I was obviously all over that.

Last year, my mom sent me the St. Lucia crown that has electric candles that I ordered as a kid. (Probably safer than my other plans.) We tried it on John, but it might be a while until my kids are big enough for that sucker.

I like to make overnight cinnamon rolls to have that morning. Learning I could just make the dough in my bread machine was a life changing discovery.

I have not decided what else I'm going to add onto this celebration this year, but I see some swedish meatballs happening...

So how are you celebrating Advent this year?


  1. All of the YES! I think it's cool you're approaching Advent like a mini-Lent, because Advent actually IS a penitential season-us Latin Rite people (myself included) just forget about that a lot, or don't even know it in the first place! The Eastern Rite Catholics are really good at making Advent penitential, though, it's pretty cool.

    I love the whole Jesse tree thing; my husband and I started doing that last year or the year before, but sometimes, we would totally get behind. So, we'd wind up marathoning a couple days of Scripture and verses in a row haha. You live in California, so I'm assuming you have a Hispanic community nearby-have you done Las Posadas before? I've never done the actual novena of the Posadas (except maybe once when I was little that I can't remember well), but I like trying to make it to one of the nights if I'm in an area with a church that's hosting it. Plus, Posadas usually involves food and fun people and cute little kids dressed up like Mary and Joseph, so it's fantastic :)

    Ironic that you mention Liturgy of the Hours-I was just thinking about this over the weekend! I love LotH, and I used to pray it all the time...but then I suddenly found myself in a thing of "which week am I on? Have I really not prayed it in like a month-if that?" So I'm also committing myself to praying one of the Hours at least 3 times a week this Advent, but I'm gonna try for every steps!

    I love the American Girl books! Last year, I totally instituted a celebration of St. Lucia's day solely because of those books (and because I like cinnamon rolls). I didn't wear an outfit or anything, though. It was pretty funny, because I made them the day before when my husband was gone (so he wouldn't see them, I wanted it to be a surprise), and then I lit a cinnamon candle to "cover up"/"explain" the smell in our apartment. The first thing he did when he walked in later was rush to the oven and look inside haha. Even though it wasn't a surprise, it was still pretty fun :)

    That's really, really awesome that you're doing meatless Fridays for Advent!!!! I love how old-school Catholic meatless Fridays are. In our house, we usually don't make meat-filled meals every day, so I just try to rearrange our meal plan to get the meatless stuff on Friday. What you mention reminds me of what a friar-friend of mine once said-his community is super penitential, but he told us that (unless it was Lent), if he was offered meat on a Friday, he would eat it out of hospitality and then offer up some other random sacrifice that day. Good luck trying it all out! That's really exciting! :)

    1. I have not heard of any closeby Posadas, but I grew up in Texas so we're acquainted with the idea!

      I should probably put some thought into my backup penance for the situation where not eating meat and/or fasting is just not a hospitable idea. That would probably involve not getting to have netflix or youtube going while I sew during naptime.

    2. Ooh, that is a really, really creative & good idea for a penance! I totally might use that idea sometime :)