How will you use these weeks to prepare for the Birth of the Savior? No one can do all of them, of course; but perhaps something from the list will start a new and holy tradition in your home.
— Declare a “Peace and Quiet Zone” in your home – a time when TV, radio, appliances, cell phones, and other electronics are turned off and conversation is put off for 5 or 10 minutes or even longer. Use this time to appreciate the stillness and silence, to meditate prayerfully on the meaning of Advent and the promise of a Redeemer.
— Discuss a family gift to a charitable organization. As Pope Francis has stressed so often, we must be concerned about the increasing materialism of our world. Sincere concern for those genuinely in need reflects our understanding of the meaning of the Lord’s birth. One way to give a very meaningful and truly useful gift is to use the money one would spend on a gift as a donation to help the needy in our world.
— As you write each card or wrap each gift, offer a prayer for each person who will receive it.
— Visit a friend or relative who is lonely for some companionship. Call first, and bring along a small gift.
— Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Christmas, and seek to be reconciled with others as well with a sincere apology.
— Volunteer for the Church of the Week, help with a breakfast, invite a friend to Mass with you.
— Consider setting up the Christmas manger scene gradually – for example, as each member of the family fulfills an Advent promise of service, he/she may add a figure to the scene.
— Try to have the preparations of shopping, baking, cards, and so on finished a week before Christmas, so that the final days of Advent can be spent in calm and peace.
— Go caroling with a group of families and other friends.
— Have each member of the household set aside one gift they have received to give away in turn to the less fortunate. This is a way for the “giving” of Christmas to extend beyond the day itself.
— Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary together.
— Spend some quiet time in prayer alone at the manger scene, either in church or at home. Thank Jesus for coming to us as our Savior.