Posts tagged Advent
DIY Advent Calendar
Beautiful paper Advent calendar for the season - grab the free printable!

Beautiful paper Advent calendar for the season - grab the free printable!

Counting down the days until Christmas is just about as much fun as actually celebrating the holiday, right? We have chocolate treat calendars for the kids, and this year I wanted to make something for us adults.

Selecting from the readings in the Advent scriptures, I took out a passage for each day to take us all the way up to Christmas. And at the close of the season (or everyday, if you'd like), there's a beautiful prayer, expressing the real meaning of the season.

Take yourself through Advent with this beautiful printable calendar!

Take yourself through Advent with this beautiful printable calendar!

Each day is a four inch square design, and the entire printable covers seven sheets of paper. Trim along the edges, and glue to a six inch square of colored paper. This would be beautiful as an all white calendar as well, but we opted for brightly saturated cardstock to accompany the colors in our studio. Pick what best suits your Advent mood! You'll need 6-inch squares to complete the whole calendar.

When folding the larger square's corners, be sure to use a nice sharp edge to make your fold and crease it firmly. This will allow for the squares to have an open and shut quality.

Are you ready to get started? Purchase a 2017 Advent calendar and download!

Love this printable Advent calendar from Pars Caeli!

Love this printable Advent calendar from Pars Caeli!

xoxo, MJ
 

Hope in the waiting

My dear friend, Beth, and I were chatting a few days ago, catching up on one another's life. She, ever the encourager, said that she looked forward to Advent here on Pars Caeli, interested to see what I have going on. Advent, this time of preparation leading up to Christmas, is such a special time of joy and family celebration. And after a little pleading, Beth shared with me a special something she tries to do during the Advent season.

She sends a note to all of her pregnant friends.

I remember being one of those pregnant friends receiving her note.

And I remember it changing my perspective on pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, 9 Advents ago, I was more than ready to give birth long before my Dec. 30th due date came around. I am not known for my patience nor my ability to put off what I long for today. I'd had a healthy pregnancy, but as a first-time mom, I desired the end of the story - the end of labor, the happy and healthy baby, the recovering body.

Pregnancy tested these limits beyond my expectations.

And yet, experiencing late pregnancy (I didn't deliver until Jan. 9) during the Advent season was such a blessing. I saw the journey of Mary in a whole new way. I pondered how she felt, discriminated as a pregnant woman in her state, managing the travel by animal to a distant land, setting out to experience the unknown, with the faith in What grew within her own womb.

Advent is a time of waiting, counting down the weeks until the delivery of Christ... and Christmas. And we have an opportunity to see it as a time of hope and joy and peace for all of the gifts we have been given and the ones we are yet to uncover. Or we can wish the time away with events, tasks, to do's, and all around busyness to get us up to the day.

Whether it be in my professional life, my family life, or my prayer life, I too often want to skip to the end of the book. I want to get to the conclusion of this "stage" or this season of life.

And, well, Advent, and good people like Beth with their helpful messages, remind us that the journey or time in-between is what prepares us to be the mothers, the people that we want to be.

The time of Advent is our pregnancy, and we have much new life to celebrate.

Either way, Christmas/Christ is coming. May God allow us to have the patience to embrace the waiting and the preparation.

And maybe we could each send a special message to a pregnant friend...

xoxo, MJ

 

More Holiday Traditions: Jesse Trees and Painted Wrappings

Happy Wednesday, good people! Two fun things to share with you today: an easy Fresh Holiday Tradition and an Advent tradition to begin.

First off, a little Advent. You all have seen some amazing Advent calendars going around, have you not? Do a quick search on Pinterest to see just how creative people can get with countdowns! I am amazed.

Have you heard of a Jesse Tree before? It's an Advent calendar of sorts, that takes you through the days leading up to Christmas and uses the words from the Old Testament stories to do so. I posted all the details last November, but I've received so many questions about it, that I wanted to post it again for new readers.

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Wanna make one? Here's what you need:

  • 1 yard of purple felt (it's a traditional Advent color)
  • 1 yard of brown felt for the limbs and trunk
  • Printed or drawn symbol ornaments
  • Velcro to attach
  • Dowel and ribbon/twine to hang.
  • Fabric glue or hot glue
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Head over here to get the full details including printable symbols, a reflection book to follow, and some more Advent ideas.

And as we get our homes and gifts ready for Christmas, I'm excited to share with you this great kiddo project from Jen over at Classic Play! I know that I've been looking for a few ways to contain, errrr focus, my children's holiday energy in good directions. This is a perfect project. And I love Jen's first reminder to keep it simple! Click over to see Painted Wrapping Paper!

Only two more projects in our Fresh Holiday Traditions series! Here's what we've seen so far:

What holiday traditions are you bringing out these days? Cookie baking? Christmas-book reading?

Check out these great traditions from my pal, Janae, over at Bring Joy.

xoxo, MJ

Prepping for Advent: Make a Jesse Tree
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Friends, have you noticed? Christmas is just around the corner. This Sunday marks the first Sunday in Advent. It's the first of four Sundays that lead us right into Christ's birth.

I've seen so many adorable Advent calendars (that begin on Dec. 1) like this one, and I want to share a different kind of countdown we use in our house. I made these for my parish with about 100 other families last year, and it's a super fun family craft to make and keep for years to come.

Have you heard of a Jesse Tree? It's a way to get the kids involved in the countdown to Christmas while learning more about the family tree of Jesus. Through each ornament, from creation through the Old Testament. Usually a Jesse Tree would be made from branches with ornaments hung from the branches. We made ours in the form of a banner that can be easily stored from year to year.

We used our family hands to create the tree. With our family of five, we had each person trace their right and left forearm and hand. We became the branches from which the (velcroed) ornaments hang. I adore that I will have those little hands forever captured as the tiniest of branches.

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Wanna make one? Here's what you need:

  • 1 yard of purple felt (it's a traditional Advent color)
  • 1 yard of brown felt for the limbs and trunk
  • Printed or drawn symbol ornaments
  • Velcro to attach
  • Dowel and ribbon/twine to hang.
  • Fabric glue or hot glue

Lay out your felt and trace forearms and hands. Cut out and arrange limbs on purple felt. Cut out a rectangular trunk to fill out the bottom of the tree. Glue down. Print and cut symbols. Laminate and add adhesive velcro (only one side is needed to stick to the felt) to the backs. Wrap the top two inches of the purple felt around the wooden dowel and glue down the edge. Knot off twine or ribbon from the dowel to hang. Viola! Keep your waiting ornaments in an envelope near your prayer booklet until they're ready to be used.

Currently our ornaments are paper. My oldest daughter has expressed a desire to recreate the images so I'm looking forward to capturing her artwork this year or next and making these circles a little bit more time-resistant.

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All of these supplies are incredibly easy and affordable for bulk buying if you want to make a lot of Jesse trees at once with your Church or school group.

The Diocese of Erie has a lot of helpful Advent resources, and our ornaments and the booklet I created came from their writings. Find the complete set of reflections plus small and large versions of the ornaments here. All of the illustrations by Carolyn Pikoulas and text by Anne-Marie Welsh for Faith magazine, published by the Diocese of Erie.

Ann Voskcamp and Nancy Rodden also have a great free printable book that includes full color illustrations of each symbol and examples of very cute felt ornaments can be found over at a Shower of Roses.

Here's the copy of the booklet I created for our Church and our home. We keep it on the dinner table and add an ornament every evening (when we also add a piece to the Nativity scene and light the Advent wreath - we're all about evening traditions). The booklet takes you through what symbol to add for the day and even bring the Scripture in so that you only have to go to one place for the reading and reflection. I promise the this ritual won't add more than 2 minutes to your dinner time, and you might be surprised by how quickly this activity helps (you and) your children get a handle on the major stories of the Bible.

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How do you count down the days? Do you have a special calendar or tradition to take you through Advent?

XOXO, MJ