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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peter Piper's Picks - Dec 6th

Blessed St. Nicholas Day to you!

Why is Advent important? How can keeping a good Advent help your family celebrations retain the "meaning of the season"? Joseph Bottum of my favorite magazine First Things has some thoughts about this in his article "The End of Advent":

"What Advent is, really, is a discipline: a way of forming anticipation and channeling it toward its goal. There’s a flicker of rose on the third Sunday—Gaudete!, that day’s Mass begins: Rejoice!—but then it’s back to the dark purple that is the mark of the season in liturgical churches. And what those somber vestments symbolize is the deeply penitential design of Advent. Nothing we can do earns us the gift of Christmas, any more than Lent earns us Easter. But a season of contrition and sacrifice prepares us to understand and feel something about just how great the gift is when at last the day itself arrives.

More than any other holiday, Christmas seems to need its setting in the church year, for without it we have a diminishment of language, a diminishment of culture, and a diminishment of imagination. The Jesse trees and the Advent calendars, St. Martin’s Fast and St. Nicholas’ Feast, Gaudete Sunday, the childless crèches, the candle wreaths, the vigil of Christmas Eve: They give a shape to the anticipation of the season. They discipline the ideas and emotions that otherwise would shake themselves to pieces, like a flywheel wobbling wilder and wilder till it finally snaps off its axle."
Read the whole thing.

A really wonderful collection of traditional prayers and family devotions for Advent (and Christmas, the New Year, and Epiphany).

And I want to encourage you again, to go check out Lent and Beyond. Karen has put together a true treasure trove of online Advent resources for liturgical Christians.

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