Sunday, November 27, 2011

A New Church Year

I was over at Reasons For Chocolate this morning and my comment on Patty's post was lost, so I thought I would come over here and blog a little about it. Today is the first day of the new Church Year. Back in my single, young adult days, while living and studying in Steubenville, we had a legendary (at least amongst those Grad-NonTrad students who were there at the time) Church New Years Eve Party. Everyone got dressed up and brought delicious food and drink to Isaac House where we had dancing and eating and talking and celebrating. I believe there was even champagne. And, if memory serves right, we stopped at midnight for a prayer, followed by singing Christmas Carol's, followed by more dancing and celebrating.

I have often thought it would be fun to do that again. In fact, Jim and I did have one Church New Year party with friends and family (I think my parents were there) back when M was a baby and D hadn't arrived yet. That was also fun. But since then we have developed new ways to celebrate the New Church Year. Usually the celebration takes the form of a First Sunday of Advent event.
Today we began with Mass, of course, grabbed a donut on the way to the car, and headed home for bacon and eggs. At breakfast we read the second to last chapter of our saint chapter book (Saint Dominic) that we were trying to finish before Advent began. Then we began the decorating.

The Advent Tree came first. We decorate our Christmas tree with white lights, and some purple decorations. This is used for the Jesse Tree. 
I am so excited about this year's Jesse Tree ornaments. I saw these on Etsy last year and waited with great anticipation for them to arrive. Isn't it cute? It is hand painted wood. No more trying to keep up with coloring one each day. My kids are not avid colorerers (did I just invent a word?) and go through stages of being entirely uninterested in coloring anything!

On the subject of new things this Advent, I came up with something new this last month. It all started with my desire to have a nicely decorated Thanksgiving table. I went placemat shopping hoping to find something that looked fallish, and matched our colorful plates. I found nothing. 
Then, it occurred to me that I could make some, but I didn't feel I had the competence to sew them, nor did I have the time. So, I finally settled on just buying some cute fall fabric (on sale at JoAnn's), trace the shape of my favorite placemat, and cut them with shears so they wouldn't shred. That would serve the purpose for the day (and the table for 17 that I was setting). In the process I bought some purple fabric for Advent. Then I got the bright idea to paint something on it...along the lines of those pretty Advent mantle's you see on the Catholic Mommy Blogs (you don't see those mantles? I see them EVERYWHERE). I bought a stencil and some fabric paint pens and went at it...with only a few mistakes.
THEN...I got the bright idea to laminate them. At OfficeMax. Only cost $2 a piece. Not bad, huh?
Word to the wise, in case you want to try it...the laminating guy (I am sure he has some other more important job, but he laminated for me twice) had never done fabric before and he tried very hard to make sure that the went in flat by holding down the sides and things like that. After four times trying to hold it different ways, with four creased placemats, he put the last one in without touching it...and it was perfect. When I went back to do my Thanksgiving placemats he was there, a little bit wiser, and each of the 20 placemats came out perfectly!
In case you can't read it, on the top is the word PATIENCE in all caps, and on the bottom it says "we wait in joyful hope". Yes, I stole that from someone's mantle (Charlotte, to be totally honest). 
That Advent wreath dates back to Aberdeen days. 

Another addition to the Advent tables here is this new Cradle to Cross Wreath. We were able to use it for Lent this past year and now we will use it for Advent. Another hand-made item to add to our traditions!
Each First Sunday of Advent I have given the kids some gift. This year we added to our nativity scene collection....

(not pictured...Little People and several other Nativity scenes)
...with a Playmobil Nativity scene! I didn't get it at Amazon though. I found it at Barnes and Noble for $10 less!

And that is how we begin the New Church Year in the Kennedy house. At least for this year.

Happy New Year!


  1. Hi Carol! I have been thinking about our Liturgical New Year's Parties all week, and was hoping to be able to pull one off here in my nieghborhood, but with all the choas following Thanksgiving, it had to be missed :(. The neighbors and I agreed, though, that we REALLY had to try for next year. Such great memories, and such a great, tangible reminder of the true newness of the Church's year. My "new thing" for Advent this year is a suspended wreath. I loved how dramatic they were in Germany--you can't miss the wreath, the candles, the sign! Everyone is so excited about it. I absolutely love your placements too though. What a fantastic idea! And of course your Advent tree. I was just telling my kids about it today and they love the idea. Perhaps we can shoot for that too, though I'm already a bit late. Well done with all of your organization! God bless your Advent, Carol!

  2. What beautiful traditions, Carol! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this season. And what impresses me most this year is that my children don't want Christmas decorations up yet...just Advent. This brings me hope that they are starting to fully grasp what Advent is and what Christmas is. May you have a very blessed Advent season, Carol! P.S. I love your tree the best!!

  3. Hi there~Popping over from Patty's blog to say hello and Happy Advent and Happy New Liturgical year too. Love all of your traditions shared...beautiful Advent tree with purple and white:) Your cradle to the cross wreath is neat too. Week 2 is coming up already...hope yours is blessed!

  4. Hey Karen,
    I saw your suspended Advent Wreath. I love it!

    Hi Patty,
    I know what you mean about the kids...mine keep commenting that they don't see Advent Trees in the stores! :)

    Hi Tiffany,
    Thanks for stopping by! Happy Advent!