As homeschooling families, we have a wonderful opportunity to observe the season of Advent and incorporate “class” time into the season while still pressing forward toward the end of our school year.  It is not always possible for families to take the entire season as a vacation unless they trade it for a summer break from the books, which isn’t a bad idea if it works in their individual family schedules.  Those who continue schooling during this season can incorporate baking into science, Advent and Christmas stories in place of the usual fare for reading and language arts, and teachings in the Faith can be centered in the Scripture readings for the season with accompanying Jesse Tree projects for art.

The season is rich with opportunities for growth in knowledge of the Faith, as well as for developing family traditions.  This year will be our first “at-home” Christmas.  Our tradition has been to go to Arizona to spend the Christmas season with my parents, but since my father died in 2000 and my mother died this year, we can no longer continue with that tradition.  In November I started thinking about what we will do now that my husband and I are the grandparents and we will be staying home.  I collected ideas from our adult children and then sent a spread sheet with all the suggestions to them to see what they would be interested in doing and/or hosting.  

 The season has begun. . .

*  Our oldest son and his wife and their children hosted the First Sunday of Advent.  They served dinner and blessed the Advent wreath.  They put up their tree (in the playpen to protect both babies and the tree) on this day and put purple lights on it.  It won’t take on “Christmas” till after Midnight Mass.

* Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  We spent this beautiful feast at a retreat sponsored by the local St. John the Baptist CUF chapter.  The day began with Holy Mass and a talk by Bishop Sheridan on the Incarnation.  It continued with talks by Dr. Edward Sri on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.  It was a wonderful opportunity to focus in on the meaning of the season.

* Today we will make tamales for Christmas Eve.  The weather didn’t look too promising last night for our kids and friends to get here to make them, but it is clearing up and they all plan to come.   Food is such an important part of our observance of the season and for our family, and it is the food of the southwest, influenced by the Mexican and Indian foods of the region.