Today we begin the First Sunday of Advent. Here is an Advent overview from Fish Eaters. "The focus of Advent is preparation for the coming of the Lord — both in commemoration of His Nativity and His coming again at the end of time. The mood should be somber anticipation, restrained joy that grows each day until Christmas, rather like waiting for a new mother to give birth — joyous, yet restrained, hesitant, and humbled until the moment of the birth arrives."

This is what our family will be doing this week.

On the first Sunday of Advent we set up an empty manger.

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The idea is that when acts of service, sacrife, or kindness are done in honor of Baby Jesus as a birthday present, the child receives a piece of straw to put into the manger.

Here are some suggestions for the straw:

Acts of sacrifice, prayers for the poor souls, the Rosary and other Marian prayers, doing extra chores without being asked, going to Mass.

We will also set up an empty stable. Throughout the next 3 weeks we will gradually add the animals, shepherds, empty mager, and the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.

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Another way to prepare for the holy season of Advent is to pray the Advent wreath prayers. We light the candles and say the prayers right after we say grace. The candles are then extinguished immediately following the meal. The kids take turns each night blowing out the candles.

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Today we will also set up our Jesse Tree.

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Every day we will read stories from a book called, The Jesse Tree.

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It has 24 stories coinciding with our Jesse Tree ornaments. Afterwards, the kids will put the ornament on the Jesse tree.

We also put up our Advent Tree with the empty stable and Advent books underneath it. I have a list of our Advent books on my sidebar. We will decorate the tree with purple garland, purple ornaments, and a tree topper with purple beads on it.

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Just recently I purchased a beautiful book called Christmas Mosaic Mosaic_2  by the wonderfully gifted Cay Gibson. It has a study guide for 30 Christmas-themed picture books. This Advent we will be reading the Christmas Mosaic books listed on my sidebar.

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