One thing I started doing with the group a couple months ago is holding a regular discussion group - one evening a month, moms only (plus any nursing babes) - to hash out important and interesting issues. In the first one, we discussed modesty. The second one was on "How to raise good Catholic children." Both discussions produced some surprisingly fruitful discussion, and were quite enjoyable to engage in.
Anyways, I was thinking there might be women in other cities who would enjoy having similar types of discussions - you know, with real people in person, not just over the internet. For that reason, I thought I would share with you my initial outline for our upcoming November discussion: Keeping Advent and Christmas Holy.
I hope a few of you might be able to use this - to pick a date, gather a few mom friends, get some snacks and drinks together, and have a great discussion. If you plan to try it out, leave a comment with your e-mail address (or send me a private e-mail) so I can send you the print-outs I'm going to throw together for each attendee (after I complete them).
[Also, if anyone would like my outlines on the previous two topics (Modesty or Raising Good Catholic Children), let me know that too, and I'll be happy to send them.]
*******(This was on the event page for November's discussion)
Keeping Advent and Christmas Holy
I would love to bring a group of us together for some honest discussion about this very important topic. I don’t have a prepared talk – just an outline for group discussion. The strength of this is that everyone can bring their own perspective to the table, and hopefully learn something new. Nursing babies welcome :-)
Also, please consider *bringing* anything you might want to show to the other moms, especially books!
- What character should a holy Advent have?
- How can we keep our celebration of Advent distinct from Christmas, and appropriate to the season?
- Do you do anything in your family to “ease into” Christmas?
- Can you recommend any special sacrifices or good works that are appropriate for Advent?
- What specific Advent devotions have worked in your family (Advent wreath, Jesse tree, nativity sets, O Antiphons, etc.)?
- What books, crafts, or other resources can you recommend for helping children celebrate and understand Advent and Christmas?
- How do you handle the Santa legend in your family? Is Santa the same as St. Nicholas [feast day: Dec. 6th]? Is it possible in this society to “not do the Santa thing”?
- How can we teach our children that Christmas is about Christ’s coming, rather than presents, parties, etc.?
- How can we resist the commercialism and consumerism of the modern American Christmas (or “winter holiday” as it’s called these days)?
- Traditionally, the Christmas season starts on Christmas Eve. How can we spend this important evening, and make it special?
- Speaking hypothetically: if you had no obligations to extended family or the culture at large, how would you like to see your family observe Christmas Eve and Christmas day together?
- What are some ethnic traditions (from your own family, or ones you have heard of) for celebrating Advent or Christmas?
- How could we extend the celebration of Christmas to encompass all “twelve days” of Christmas or beyond (until Candlemas, Feb. 2nd)?
Some extra reading that might be of interest: