Third Week of Advent (Year C): This Is Really Happening! Wipe That Frown Off Your Face and Stop Worrying!

Welcome to the third installment of this series on the Scripture readings for Advent, Year C. I mentioned in the first installment that, as I reflected on the Advent Scripture readings, I thought of the image of castaways on a deserted island, feeling hopeless and abandoned. The readings for the First Week of Advent reassured us that “help is on the way,” and the readings for the Second Week of Advent told us that we […]

Second Week of Advent (Year C): Pack Up Your Things, Come Out of Your Caves, and Light a Bonfire!

Welcome to our second installment of this series on the Scripture readings for Advent, Year C. I mentioned in the first installment that, as I reflected on the Advent Scripture readings, I thought of the image of castaways on a deserted island, feeling hopeless and abandoned. The readings for the First Week of Advent reassured us that “help is on the way!” The Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Advent tell us that, while […]

First Week of Advent (Year C): Help Is On the Way!

Welcome to the first installment of our Advent series for the 2019 liturgical year (Year C), which begins on Sunday, December 2, 2018. Each week, I will draw a theme from the Sunday Scripture readings, offer some reflections for your enrichment, and provide some suggestions and resources for bringing this theme to life in your learning setting. As I reflected on the Scripture readings for the Sundays of Advent this year, I thought of the […]

Preparing to Journey Together Through Advent

Believe it or not, we are once again preparing to enter into the season of Advent in just a few short weeks! As always, it is a privilege to walk that journey with you here at Catechist’s Journey. This year, Advent begins on Sunday, December 2, 2018, and we enter into Year C of the Lectionary cycle, which means that we will primarily be hearing the Good News according to St. Luke. Here are the […]

Emmanuel, the Great Catechist

During Advent, we sing the traditional hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” a beautiful song based on the “O” Antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours (Vespers) for the octave (eight days) before Christmas (beginning December 17). One verse of that song is of particular interest to catechists, because it speaks of our longing for being taught to live according to God’s way: O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who orderest all things mightily; To us the […]

Creating Sacred Space for Advent

What does it mean to call something “sacred?” According to the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (InterVarsity Press), “a sacred space is a place where God is encountered in a special or direct way by virtue of which the very place becomes holy and set apart from ordinary space.” This Advent, embrace the season as a sacred space and do so from the ease of your e-mail inbox. Sacred Advent is a daily e-mail prayer break during […]

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness This Advent

The wonderful season of Advent is only a few weeks away! Advent is a season designed for us to focus on our spiritual wellness as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. With that in mind, I humbly recommend my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, as part of your Advent reading, along with the following connections to the themes of Advent as found in the Scripture readings for this season. See yourself as […]

School-Wide Advent Wreath Prayer Service

I love the way we celebrate Advent at my school. Every Monday the entire school—all 515 students and their teachers—gather in the auditorium to pray and sing traditional Advent carols. Our tradition is simple and beautiful. In the center of the auditorium is a table, upon which sits an Advent wreath with a purple bow. The wreath cradles four pillar candles—three purple and one pink. A group of cantors stand off to one side, and […]

The Advent Prayer Grab Bag

Traditional Advent activities include Advent wreaths, calendars, and Jesse trees. While these are all great ways to help children celebrate the season, I like using something different: the Advent prayer grab bag. The prayer grab bag takes its inspiration from the popular party game of grab bags. I ask my group if anyone has ever participated in a grab bag and invite someone who has to explain the tradition of bringing one gift to a […]

Actively Waiting for Advent—Free Prayer Packet

We wait at the doctor’s office. We wait in traffic. We wait in line at the coffee shop. We wait our turn. We wait for a sign from God. We wait to be heard. We wait. Advent is waiting, also, but not in the listless, zoned-out way like we might wait at the local coffee shop, nor in the anxious, bored way we might wait at the doctor’s office or in traffic. Advent is active […]