Ecce Veniet — He is About to Arrive!
“Advent is here. What a marvellous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!”
~ St. Josemaria, The Forge, 548
In preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, my family traditionally prays the Advent Wreath Prayer in the evenings from the first day of Advent until Christmas Eve.
In addition, we have a hold a Secret Santa with my sister-in-law’s family (she has 8 kids so her family plus ours total 14 people) that we start on the first day of Advent, as well. Aside from giving a Christmas pressie to the person whose name we randomly picked from a box, we also offer sacrifices and/or do something nice for that person the whole Advent Season — without letting that person know. To help keep the “secret”, we encourage everyone to do something nice to 2-3 (or more) people so that the person whom we are actually the Secret Santa of, won’t have a clue who his or her Secret Santa is.
It is always something each one in our extended family looks forward to, kids and adults alike.
This year, however, I decided to add another tradition, albeit for our immediate family only. That is, the Advent Calendar (photo above shows the one I made using the Kaisercraft Shadowbox Draws kit and scrapbooking paint, papers, and embellishments). Instead of just getting a treat, my husband, kids, and I write down on small pieces of paper a sacrifice or offering we will make or made that day for Jesus in exchange for the treats inside the box for a given day. We do this after saying the Advent Wreath Prayer, which is a wonderful way to end the day.
For those of you who may not have an Advent Wreath or if your kids are too young yet to participate in a relatively long prayer, here’s an Advent Prayer you can teach them and you can pray together, instead:
Christmas Anticipation Prayer
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe,
I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.