US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Christmas story time

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Stories and prayers shared as children can become traditions that last, even when the children grow up.  

By Guest Blogger Kathy McGourty

We have several Advent traditions that grew out of having 4 children under the age of 8.  Realizing their need to have intimate time with us, we used Advent as a way to spend quality moments with our children. Each evening during Advent we would read a Christmas story to them. As the years went on, we would buy new Christmas stories to add to our collection. This gave us a larger library from which to choose each night. We would mark the year that each book was acquired and reminisce when we opened each book about the ages they were during that year and what events may have marked that year.

Now, with our baby at 19 years old, our collection has grown quite large. They each make time on their own now to sit in the living room where the books are displayed and read one or two on their own time. As they grow with families and independent lives, these books will be great gifts to pass onto them when the time is right.

The other tradition we began at the same time took place at prayer time during Advent. After the Advent candle was lit, one family member would write down the name of a particular person or group of people that our prayers would focus on. As each day in Advent arrived, a new name was added to the list by a different family member. All the intentions were read that night, including the newest addition. The list would grow as the candles grew shorter. By Christmas Eve there were many intentions that were added to our prayer and remembered during the entire season.

This was an easy way for our young children to be a part of the prayer. It helped to put initials by each intention so everyone knew whose turn was next. It may have been Advent and prayer time, but even that didn’t stop four kids from arguing over whose turn was next to write down the special intention, not to mention light the candle and blow it out! Oh well, our best intention became a tradition and for that we are grateful.

Guest blogger Kathy McGourty is a youth minister in Bloomingdale, Illinois and contributor to U.S. Catholic.

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Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.