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Advent Antonia Goddard Ink Slingers Liturgical Year

Being the Living Crib

Being the Living Crib

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. 

Read more in our Advent archives or visit our Advent board on Pinterest!

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Christmas Ink Slingers Liturgical Year Michelle Spiritual Growth

All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

Me, missing all four top teeth and all four bottom teeth!
Me, missing all four top teeth and all four bottom teeth!

Two of my little girls have loose front teeth. They keep wiggling them, hoping they will come out before Christmas. They want to ask Santa for new teeth. Such a sweet request: so simple; so innocent. Truth be told, I would like that too. My favorite kind of smile is one where the front teeth are missing and the child is smiling from ear to ear, joy radiating from their face with an unmatched exuberance for life reflected in their eyes. Yes, if my girls lost their two front teeth at the same time I would be thrilled too.

But, more than likely that isn’t going to happen. The teeth are not ready to come out. The girls don’t seem to quite understand this and I’ve tried to tell them that it’s ok, but they still are holding out hope that it will happen. I don’t dare dash their hopes completely, instead, I tell them to continue to wiggle their teeth and maybe, just maybe, they will loosen up enough to fall out by Christmas.

The innocence and the hope that children possess are simply beautiful. They can be told that something is not possible and yet they still try and they still hope. They have a spirit about them that pushes them to go further, try harder, and believe even when there is little reason to believe. What happens to us as we get older? Where does that innocence go and how do we get it back?

Many of us have been exposed to many hardships and struggles and have been wounded in this journey we call life. Often this makes us calloused and hard. We lose hope in our fellow man and we close off our hearts to others. We worry about what is going to happen with our world and we can’t see it ever getting better. We know that man has fallen so far away from God that it will take a tremendous amount of work to get back to being a nation that puts God first. Many of us don’t see that ever happening as we know that often people don’t want to do the hard work. That joy that once radiated in our smiles is extinguished as we contemplate our troubles and the troubles of our world.

But does it have to be this way? Can we get back to feeling joy once again? How do we do this?

God knew we would feel this way. He foresaw the troubles we would have and He provided a way for us to regain our happiness and our love for life. He provided us with a gift that, once opened, would insure that we could always feel hope even in a world that is plagued by violence, heartache, and despair. He wrapped that gift in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a humble manger in Bethlehem. He awaits us. He longs for us. He is our gift from our loving Father.

manger-baby

I look at the babe Jesus and know that there is nothing more I want out of life than the hope, the love, and the peace that He brings. He is the ultimate gift. He is the gift that restores the joy and the exuberance for life that we lost as we grew up. He brings a smile to our faces that spread from ear to ear. When we open the gift that God so wonderfully gave us, we find that Christ’s love radiates out from us to others. We can’t help but become those hopeful young children who know that even though the odds are against them there is still a chance that they will still get what they want. The difference is that we know we have not only what we want, but also what we need.

Christmas is just days away. We look forward to celebrating the day that God gave us the gift of hope and unconditional love. If you haven’t unwrapped the gift of the Savior yet, I encourage you to do so. If you have unwrapped the gift but you just set it aside, I encourage you to take another look at it once again. You may be surprised at how beautiful, how wonderful, and how utterly perfect this gift is. Allow Christ to bring joy, hope, and peace into your life. Let His love radiate from you.

My children are hoping to lose their two front teeth in hopes that they will get two new ones for Christmas. I am hoping to lose my lack of faith, my anger, and my despair and through the gift of Jesus I know I will find hope, peace, and a joy that my heart cannot contain. I am excited to open my gift. I hope you are too.