As we come into the beginning of the liturgical year, Advent is a time for us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. Let’s take a moment to look at how Jesus came to us – and why His being born into a family was no coincidence.
Jesus could have stepped out of Heaven with a trumpet blast, but He didn’t. He was born into a family, born of a young woman and laid in a manger – the humblest of origins, you might think. But by being born into a family just as each and every one of us was, God bestowed the greatest of blessings on families, showing the unique and powerful relationship that families share. Those called to the family life have an incredible vocation, and nothing reminds us of this more than Advent.
This Advent, many families will prepare a crib scene to prepare for Christmas and celebrate the coming of Our Lord. It’s a great Advent task for families of all ages and sizes, and can be made to any size and budget – I encourage you to give it a go! Everyone can get involved in their own way, from making the figures to clearing a space to put it! For inspiration, check out some of the beautiful Neapolitan crib scenes – complete with lights, sounds effects, moving parts, and even fountains! Your crib doesn’t need to be as fancy as any of those, but made with love, it will be a beautiful blessing to your home.
And this Advent, let’s make our families a living, breathing embodiment of the crib, and follow the example of the Holy Family to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Let us each work like Joseph to contribute to the family home in our own way. Let us nurture one another, as Mary nurtured her Son. And let us love one another, as Christ loved us, praising Him as the angels and shepherds did, worshipping him as the Wise Men.
Advent is the start of the liturgical year, so if you make New Year’s Resolutions, this is a great opportunity to make some new ones for the whole family – and take up some great habits! You could commit to volunteering together, or going to a weekday Mass, or spending some time with people in your parish in need. This Advent, prepare your home to be a living crib scene, and your heart to be the manger in which Our Lord lay.
Antonia Goddard is a writer and playwright based in London, UK. A country girl born and bred, she’s currently learning the joys and struggles that come with life in a big city – and offering both to God. When she’s not writing or reading historical fiction, she’s probably cooking. Definitely not burning things.