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The Advent Games: Catching Fire

If any of you were around these parts last year, you may remember that we started our Advent season not with a prayer but with a coin toss. Because that’s how we roll here at the Poust House. We can take four weeks of peace, joy, and love and turn it into an epic battle of wits, willpower, and outright manipulation. Katniss has got nothing on these kids. All they’re lacking is the bow and arrow. And so it begins again. Who knows what this Advent will bring, but nothing would surprise me.

As I unpack the Advent wreath, the calendar, the Advent tree, and the Playmobil Nativity set, Chiara is already making demands. But at least she’s forthright about the whole thing, saying quite plainly, “I want to be the one who gets to open the last door of the Advent calendar and put Jesus in the manger.” It’s better than the quiet mathematical calculations that usually go on among the older ones, or last year’s clandestine Advent activities that were going on behind closed (closet) doors after I removed all Advent fun as a punishment. Yeah, you heard me right. I’m no Mother Teresa. More like the Burgermeister Meisterburger of Advent.

But this morning at Mass, with the lighting of the first candle on the wreath and the indigo vestments and the reminders of darkness and light, waiting and alertness, I felt myself letting a glimmer of hope in despite our family history. We’ve yet to light the first candle here, so I’m sure I’m being premature in my hopefulness. We’ll soon find out. Stay tuned…

And if you’d like some tips on how to keep the Advent season more sane and less secular, click HERE for my OSV Advent story. If only I practiced what I preach.


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  1. “I want to be the one to open the door and put Jesus in the manger.” This is the story of my vocation, and perhaps my deepest prayer…to open every door and to place Jesus in the manger there…. I am so impressed with your daughter’s desire and I do believe, there is truly light amid your domestic Church…a childish cry may someday be transformed into the real thing…that’s what this Christmas custom is perhaps all about. Merry Advent, Mary!

    December 2, 2013

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