Preparing Children for Advent

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first five chapters of "Preparing Children for Advent"|Preparing Ourselves First |The first, and most important thing we can do to prepare our children for Advent is to prepare ourselves first. After all, if we are impatient and crabby - pressured by all the busyness of this season - we won't be very good at teaching our children anything about quiet, expectant waiting. If they never hear us talk about what we long for from the Lord, how will they learn about this kind of longing? And, if they hear "the coming of Jesus" talked about at church, and perhaps at school, but never hear us talk about the meaning of the coming of Jesus for us, what kind of message will we be giving them? |Of course, our children will be watching us and listening to us - what we say and do, and what we fail to say and do. So, the first thing we can give our children is our own commitment to enter Advent as deeply as we can. We want to clear our own spirits so that we can be present to theirs. The graces we receive can be the graces we share with them. |Talking with Our Children |To talk with our chidren about our own religious experience doesn't mean we have to know all kinds of "theology" to "teach them," nor does it mean we have to "dumb it down" to ridiculously simple terms. We don't have to "burden" children with the burdens we have to bear in our adult relationship with God, and we don't have to make their world more unsettling and scary than it already is. We just have to find the right time and place to talk with them about our faith. |We don't have to criticize everything in our contemporary culture's preparation for and celebration of Christmas. But, what we tell them about Advent, will help temper the materialism and consumerism involved in the marketing of Christmas to children. |The Message |We can tell our children about Isaiah, the prophet. We can tell them that God has wanted to be the one who would lead and take care of his people. But they rebelled against God, and demanded kings, just like all the peoples around them had. So, God let them have kings. As it turned out, there was one bad king after another. And God sent prophets to the people and the kings to remind them of the agreement - the "covenant" - God made with them: I'll be your God and you be my people.
Creighton University, Online Ministries
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