Light up your Advent: Resources from U.S. Catholic

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Advent resources from U.S. CatholicBy all means, have yourself a merry little Christmas, but before all that jingle-jangle, don’t forget to have yourself a worthy, watchful Advent. Here is a gift bag of practical and spiritual resources to guide you through this period of waiting and expectation. If you're having trouble keeping the season bright in the midst of shopping and parties, return to this page throughout Advent (and the 12 days of Christmas) for spiritual refreshment. Don’t forget to share it with your friends. 

Tradition! by Megan Sweas
Teaching Christmas by Molly Jo Rose
Happy St. Nicholas Day! by Meinrad Scherer-Emunds
Lighting more than Advent candles by Johnny Zokovitch
Christmas preperations by Amanda Curran
Crafting perfect Christmas memories by Lisa Calderone-Stewart
Christmas cactus by Alice Camille
Building a Baby's bed by Ellen Chmiel
Rejoice Sunday and every day by Stephanie Niedringhaus
Buy more presents by Cathy O'Connell-Cahill
Prayers for Christmas mobs by Jim Coniff
Timeless Christmas carols by Sue Stanton
The other Christmas tree by Bryan Cones
Christmas story time by Kathy McGourty
Grief at Christmas by Kathleen O'Hara
Quiet Christmas in the Holy Land by Cathleen Chopra-McGowan
Simply having a wonderful Christmas Time by Meghan Murphy-Gill
Los Posadas: Celebrating together by Father Bruce Wellems, C.M.F.
Visitations today by Judie Harron
Christmas movies: A break from the chaos by Paul Jarzembowski
All about family on Christmas Eve by Philip J. DiNovo
Prayer comes first on Christmas day by Angelica N. Quinonez 

Advent and Christmas practices

I'll be green for Christmas
Our celebration of Jesus' incarnation should bring joy to the world rather than destruction to the world, argues Megan Sweas
See also: Special section on fair trade

Standing room only
More than the Magi visit the Christ child in Santiago Cortes-Sojberg's nativity scene. His crowded creche shows how Jesus came to all of humanity.

Open some doors this Advent
In a classic from 2000, Joyce Rupp encourages hospitality at the holidays, even if you'd rather not let your in-laws in your house.

Unwrap the gifts of Advent
This Advent season, shop the scriptures rather than the malls to prepare for Christmas. Joan Chittister looked at Advent scripture from 2001, but her reading will still give you cheer.  

Do you take your values Christmas shopping?
What parent doesn't want to make their children's wishes come true at Christmas? But respondents to this Reader Survey on gift giving say that playing Santa has become an ethical landmine.

The more days the merrier
The 12 days of Christmas aren't just a song. Nick Wagner offers 12 ways to continue celebrating Christmas after December 25.

Family

Christmas presence
Give your kids yourself for Christmas this year, writes At Home With our Faith editor Cathy O'Connell Cahill. Find more family resources at homefaith.com.

'Twas the fight before Christmas: A survival guide to a fairly happy holidays
Family drama bringing you down? Leslie Scanlon shares how Catholics can get through the holiday despite loneliness, grief, and arguments.

Get wrapped up in family traditions this Christmas
Tradition! There's nothing like it to teach your children what the holiday season is really about, writes Mary O'Connell.

Reflections

A reading from the prophet Bonnie
Father Ronald Raab, C.S.C., shares how an unruly visitor brought Jesus into his parish's midst.

Away from the manger 
Pieces of her aunt's nativity scene popped up in unexpected places, reminding Frances Leap of the Incarnation.

What child is this
What does the Lord's birthday mean 2,000 years later? Megan McKenna offers the hopeful vision that the Incarnation of God in human flesh still matters.

What are you waiting for?
Advent is the liturgical season of vigilance or, to put it more mundanely, of waiting, Father Robert Barron writes.

Have yourself a defiant little Christmas
Defy winter and embrace the light, greenness, and love of Christmas, writes John Shea.

Hold your fire! Let's call a truce in the War on Christmas
Making a mockery of the supposed "war on Christmas," Father Paul Boudreau says that putting Christ in Christmas is up to our families.

Scripture

Birth Announcements
It's hard to know what to make of the infancy narratives in some but not all of the gospels. Bible scholar Laurie Brink, O.P. digs out the truth among the differing facts.

The greatest story never foretold?
Was Isaiah really talking about Jesus of Nazareth? In this U.S. Catholic interview, scripture scholar Pauline A. Viviano shares with us what to make of those Advent Old Testament readings.

Ready or not, here I come
Even wonder why we hear passage about the end of the world at Mass during Advent? Meinrad Scherer-Emunds uncovers the Catholic understanding of the Second Coming.