Celebrating Advent as a Family

By Maruška Healy

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment… But we cannot pray ‘at all times’ if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it” (CCC 2697). We come before the Lord with a desire for ‘a new heart’ when we find time for prayer throughout our day. The Church invites us to pray in many different ways. We can recite the Rosary, pray the liturgy of the hours, learn about the lives of the saints, celebrate the liturgical year through feast days, lift up our hearts in song or silence, and above all participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. If we take time to pray at ‘specific times’, our home will be filled with prayer at ‘all times’.

The season of Advent (from the Latin word “adventus”, meaning “coming”) is the time of preparation for the birth of Christ. It is a time of longing and waiting for his ‘coming’. It should be a time filled with joy when we ponder the gift of God’s love, open our hearts to receive and open our hands to give. Advent begins the liturgical year. It begins on the Sunday closest to the last day in November.

Advent traditions are numerous. We do not always know their exact origin, but they have been lived in the hearts of the faithful. If traditions are lived and understood, they can bring families closer to Christ and transform the hearts of those who participate in them. How can we introduce some Advent traditions into our families this Advent season?

Advent Wreath – The wreath is circular and made of evergreens symbolizing the eternity of God. Seeds and fruit we may place on the wreath represent life and resurrection. There are four candles on the wreath, each representing one week of Advent. The three purple candles stand for prayer and penance. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday (the “Gaudete Sunday”) and it symbolizes joy – “gaudium” in Latin – as we draw closer to the birth of Christ. The light that the wreath brings symbolizes Christ Himself – our Light. Take a family walk on the first Sunday of Advent and collect everything you will need for the Advent wreath. Make it together as a family and talk with your children about the rich symbolism. Have the wreath blessed by a priest, or read a family blessing of the wreath at home. Place it in a visible spot where your family gathers often. Light it during your evening prayer or at mealtimes.

Nativity Scene – Saint Francis of Assisi began the custom of the nativity scenes when he celebrated Christmas with his brothers at Greccio in 1223 with a Bethlehem scene which included live animals. This tradition quickly spread and people began to construct their own nativity scenes in their homes. Children take great joy in helping to set up a nativity scene. The crèche may be made from various materials. Simplicity and beauty go often hand in hand. You may set up your entire scene at the beginning of Advent, leaving the crib empty for the Christ Child to arrive on Christmas Eve. Or you may set up the scene slowly, day by day. We like to hide one figure (an animal, or a branch…) each day of Advent, have our children search for it, and then place it around the manger. Joseph and Mary arrive to Bethlehem last. On Christmas Eve, the youngest child finds a small golden package under the Christmas tree with the figure of the Baby Jesus. We place it together in our crèche. Mary and Joseph can also ‘travel’ to Bethlehem, as they move slowly across your room every day until they reach the cave.

Advent Carols – The tradition of caroling is owed to Saint Francis as well. Children especially enjoy the beauty and joy expressed in Christmas Carols. However, Christmas carols should be sung at Christmas. During Advent, we are still waiting. Our music should express this waiting and longing for the Messiah. There are many beautiful Advent Hymns. Learn one new hymn every week of Advent with your family. Your waiting will be rewarded with a profound joy at Christmas time. [Editor’s note: Advent hymns can be found in your parish hymnal. For an online list of popular and lesser-known Advent hymns, see The Cyber Hymnal or Hymns of Advent.]

Jesse Tree – Jesse Tree is an old tradition depicting the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical figures who were the ancestors of Jesus. Jesse was the father of King David. He is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus. For your own Jesse Tree, a branch can be placed into a pot or a large vase at the beginning of Advent and every day a new ornament can be hung onto it.

healy-jesse-tree-2

These ornaments represent the individual figures from the two Testaments. They can be made out of paper, felt, clay, wood, or other materials. As the children place the ornaments onto the branch, the father of the family can read an appropriate Scripture passage that talks about the given ancestor of Jesus. There are many passages that can be chosen and many symbols that can represent various figures. Each family can create their own list of figures and their symbols. [Editor’s note: this webpage shows one example of Jesse tree ornaments; this webpage provides suggested readings and symbols for each of the Jesse tree ornaments.]

The Crib for the Christ Child – A small wooden crib can be displayed somewhere in your home. This empty crib can be filled with a new piece of straw every day for acts of kindness and small sacrifices. Encourage your children to notice the goodness in others, instead of focusing on their own deeds and accomplishments. By the end of Advent, the crib should be filled with straw. On Christmas Eve, children can place a small figure of Baby Jesus in his soft bed of hay.

Advent Angels – At the beginning of Advent, each family member can blindly pick the name of another member of the family and become his or her Advent angel. Prayers, sacrifices, and acts of kindness can be offered and exercised daily. During the Christmas season, small homemade gifts can be exchanged between the ‘angels’. This prolongs the joy of Christmas, encourages creativity, and teaches children (and adults) to discover unique talents they can share with others.

Preparing our homes – Our homes should reflect our readiness for Christ’s birth. Clean your home together, simplify, share. Children can help to prepare a box for the poor and the lonely. You can donate extra clothing and household items, bake cookies together and share them or save them for the joyous time of Christmas. Begin working on Christmas cards and gifts early in Advent so that you can ‘rest your heart’ during the final days of Advent.

Preparing our hearts – Just as we prepare our homes, we should prepare our hearts. This is the time for a frequent sacrament of reconciliation, for longer family prayer, and for lots of Advent reading together. This is the time when family can draw closer to the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation.

Celebrating the saints’ feast days – There are many beautiful feast days during Advent to celebrate. I will mention just a few. You can honor Saint Nicholas (December 6) by learning about his life. Prepare a play about him, or learn a hymn in his honor. Recalling the legend of the three daughters, place your shoes by the fireplace on the eve of the feast and wait for the saint’s ‘visit’. (In many European countries, Saint Nicholas visits families in person. He joins them for family prayers, blesses the children, and leaves oranges, nuts, and golden coins for each one of them. Children write letters to the Christ Child and deliver them through Saint Nicholas. These letters are filled with the children’s thanks for the past year and with their hopes for the year to come). You can make candles on the feast of Saint Ambrose (December 7), the patron saint of candle makers. While remembering our Mother Mary, you can also prepare a small gift for an expectant mother you know on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8).

healy-st-lucia

Decorate your house with lights on the Feast of Saint Lucy (December 13), whose name means ‘light’. According to an old Swedish custom, dress your oldest daughter in white and let her wake up the family with a candle-lit breakfast. Remember our Lady of Guadalupe with a Mexican meal, roses or poinsettias. Craft with your children, sing, celebrate, eat your meals together, find time… Prepare your homes and hearts for Christ!

Pope Francis pleads for end to ‘walls of fear’ In a divided Cyprus

20211202T1000-POPE-CYPRUS-ARRIVE-1513292.jpg

Pope Francis arrives to lead a meeting with priests, religious, deacons, catechists and members of church groups and movements at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace Dec. 2 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis arrives to lead a meeting with priests, religious, deacons, catechists and members of church groups and movements at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace Dec. 2 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Nicosia, Cyprus — Pope Francis pleaded for an end to “walls of fear” and “vetoes dictated by nationalist interests” on Dec. 2, as he arrived in the splintered eastern Mediterranean capital city of Nicosia — the last divided capital city in the world — kicking off a 5-day visit to Cyprus and Greece.

“Walls do not and should not exist in the Catholic Church,” the pope said during his first stop in Nicosia’s Maronite Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace, which is located along the United Nations patrolled “Green Line” that since 1974 has separated the contested northern Turkish region of the island from the Greek-inhabited southern territory.

“The church is a common home, a place of relationships and of coexistence in diversity,” he said.

Francis’ message of unity served a dual purpose: to address both the longstanding “Cyprus problem” between the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriots and to further relations between the country’s minority Catholic population and their majority Orthodox Christian neighbors.

In two separate addresses to both religious and civil leaders on Thursday, Francis frequently turned to the theme of “dialogue” to offer a way forward.

20211202T1000-POPE-CYPRUS-ARRIVE-1513294.jpg

Pope Francis leads a meeting with priests, religious, deacons, catechists and members of church groups and movements at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace Dec. 2 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis leads a meeting with priests, religious, deacons, catechists and members of church groups and movements at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace Dec. 2 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (CNS/Paul Haring)

“Let us nurture hope by the power of gestures, rather than by gestures of power,” he said at a welcome ceremony at the presidential palace. “There is a power of gestures, which prepares the way of peace. Not gestures of power, threats of reprisal and shows of force, but gestures of détente and concrete steps towards dialogue.”

Referring to Cyprus as “a pearl of great price in the heart of the Mediterranean,” Francis said that the formation of the jewel “takes time and patience.”

“It demands a broad vision capable of embracing a variety of cultures and looking to the future with foresight,” he said. “I think in this regard of the importance of protecting and supporting all the members of society, especially those who are statistically a minority.”

But the patience that the pope urged is waning for those seeking reconciliation among the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Over the last two decades, reunification efforts have been soundly rejected and experts believe the possibility seems even further away than when Pope Benedict XVI visited Cyprus in 2010.

During his remarks, the pope sought to emphasize the shared history of the island’s inhabitants, saying it offers a “history of intertwined peoples, a mosaic of encounters.”

“The church, as Catholic, universal, is an open space in which all are welcomed and gathered together by God’s mercy and invitation to love,” he said.

As he sought to emphasize the island’s diversity, the pope elevated the issue of migration, noting that Cyprus now receives more asylum-seekers per capita than any other country in the European Union.

Caritas Cyprus Executive Director Elizabeth Kassinis told NCR that the island is “struggling with what to do with these increasing numbers,” noting it is a drain on resources in a small society, with limited potential to create new opportunities for new arrivals.

Despite the challenges, Francis sought to offer a booster shot to church leaders on the front lines of the crisis, telling them “the work you are carrying out on this island, as you welcome new brothers and sisters arriving from other shores of the world, is precious.”

“Foster a patient and attentive outlook, to be visible and credible signs of the patience of God, who never leaves anyone outside the home, bereft of his loving embrace,” he continued.

Migration is expected to dominate the pope’s messages throughout his time in both Cyprus and Greece.

Prior to departing for Cyprus on Dec. 2, the pope met with 12 refugees from Syria, Congo, Somalia and Afghanistan who came to Italy from Lesbos, a Greek island he visited in 2016 and where he is scheduled to visit again on Dec. 5.

The pope also visited the parish church of St. Mary of the Angels, near Rome’s Fiumicino airport, where he met with and prayed together with 15 other refugees hosted by the church.

As he spoke to the country’s Catholic leaders facing a divided country, a surging influx of migration and a complicated history with its Orthodox counterparts, Francis emphasized the need for a church marked by both “patience” and “fraternity.”

Taking stock of the island’s early history, visited by Sts. Paul and Barnabas during the first century, Francis said that Cyprus served as a “springboard” for Christianity in Europe.

The success of the early apostles, he argued, was marked by not overwhelming “the fragile faith of the newcomers by taking a rigorous and inflexible approach, or by making excessive demands about the observance of precepts.”

A patient church, he said, “calmly welcomes newness and discerns situations in the light of the Gospel.”

Be it newcomers to Cyprus or believers from “different rites and traditions,” the pope said that Christians “should not experience diversity as a threat to identity.”

“By your spirit of fraternity, you can remind everyone, and Europe as a whole, that we need to work together to build a future worthy of humanity,” he concluded, “to overcome divisions, to break down walls, to dream and work for unity.”

Following his time with both civil and church leaders, Francis headed to the country’s apostolic nunciature, where he will stay both nights. It is located neither on the Turkish or Greek Cypriot side of Nicosia, but instead in the United Nations’ controlled buffer zone between the two regions.

Natural Immunity Only Permanent Solution To Covid?

OMICRON touted as CURE for covid? Highly infectious strain with “mild” symptoms could deliver worldwide natural immunity and make vaccines obsolete

Image: BOMBSHELL: Could OMICRON be the CURE for covid? Highly infectious strain with “mild” symptoms could deliver worldwide natural immunity and make vaccines obsolete

(Natural News) Steve Kirsch, a highly intelligent, data-driven analyst who has been making huge wave on Substack with his articles on covid vaccines (and their long-term effects on humanity) was interviewed.

In that interview, Kirsch dropped a bombshell. He explained that omicron so far appears to be very mild but highly infectious, following a rather typical path of viral host adaptation. As a result, he explained that if a person had to choose which variant to be infected with, they would vastly prefer omicron, since it has so far killed no one (to our knowledge at this point) and yet provokes the body into producing a powerful immune response that confers immunity against all covid variants (including Delta).

Kirsch was right on the money: Omicron is spreading quickly but producing no serious symptoms in those who are said to be “infected” with it. It appears that omicron, despite being widely hyped by the scientifically illiterate corporate media, may have finally reached “seasonal flu” status in terms of its relatively mild impact on human health.

And that means omicron might be the cure for covid. It could end this entire pandemic without the need for vaccines, masks, social distancing or lockdowns. By simply allowing omicron to sweep through the human population — producing almost zero deaths — the entire world could become immune to covid and we could end all the global madness, including Australia’s totalitarian “covid concentration camps” that are making global headlines.

Pfizer would miss out on billions in new variant vaccine revenues, of course, which is why Fauci and the entire criminal cabal of Big Pharma corona con artists will fight against natural immunity in every way possible.

If omicron is the cure, that would explain why governments are cutting off world travel to prevent it from spreading

Does this realization explain why governments of the world are suddenly banning flights from South Africa and cutting off travel? Maybe they don’t want omicron to spread and replace the “delta” variant because delta produces far higher fatalities that feed into the media’s pro-vaccine fear narrative.

If omicron takes over the world, the pandemic is essentially over and they can’t drive people into the depopulation vaccines. Compliance is based on fear, and without the deaths, the fear can’t be maintained.

This brings us to the realization that the vaccine IS the pandemic. When people are vaccinated and injected with spike protein bioweapons — or the mRNA instructions for their bodies to manufacture those spike protein nano particles — they often suffer adverse reactions or even death. These deaths are blamed on “covid” when the real culprit is often the vaccines themselves. Without the vaccines, this pandemic would flame out all by itself.

As the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal recently published, mRNA covid vaccines “dramatically increase endothelial inflammatory markers” and, “may account for the observations of increased thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, and other vascular events following vaccination.”

Furthermore, the recently released Pfizer postmarketing experience document — just released by the FDA under court order — reveals that both Pfizer and the FDA knew in early 2021 that the Pfizer mRNA vaccine was killing people by the thousands, affecting three times more women than men. (See my coverage of this “smoking gun” document here.)

Natural immunity is the only permanent solution to covid, and vaccines simply can’t replace the human immune response

Ultimately, natural immunity is the only real solution to the covid plandemic. Vaccines are proving to be so disastrous that the EU is now recommending booster shots every 3 months… thereby proving that their vaccines stop working in about 3 months. The 3-month schedule will apparently continue indefinitely… or until you’re dead from the spike protein injections ripping your vascular system to shreds.

Covid vaccines don’t stop covid transmission, and they don’t prevent people from becoming infected with covid variants. Right now across the world, most of the people hospitalized with covid infections are vaccinated. Yet the only response from the tone deaf “science” community is to scream, “More vaccines!”

What we really need is more natural immunity, which means we need more exposure to a “mild” version of covid that kills almost no one.

Omicron now appears to be precisely that. It’s the globalists’ worst nightmare: Their bioweapon has adapted to become non-scary and easily beaten without vaccines. It means the Fauci fraud may be approaching its final chapter, and the scourge of covid vaccines and media lies may be coming to an end.

What the world’s leaders should actually be doing right now, in my view, is promoting vitamin D, zinc and other nutritional immune boosters, ending all mask mandates, lockdowns and vaccine mandates, and allowing omicron to invoke natural immunity across the populations of the world. Tear down the covid concentration camps and let the children finally have recess without masks.

We could all emerge from this with new, global immunity against covid. From there, we can begin the process of indicting and arresting all the covid criminals who took part in the covid “scamdemic” and put humanity through sheer hell over the last two years.