Advent in the Convent!
What is Advent like in the convent? …is not a question that anyone has ever asked me, now that I think about it. But some of you might be curious! So let me share a few of the hallmarks of Advent in a Daughters of St. Paul convent.
We have a few traditions that are probably pretty common among many religious communities. With the whole Church, we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6…and sometimes St. Nicholas brings us an early Christmas gift! On this day we also pray for children everywhere, in particular for the children we will meet through our mission during the Advent season.
Beginning on December 16, we pray our Christmas novena. That means a lot of singing early in the morning! But we all love the novena. It helps us to prepare ourselves even more intensely for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. (To pray the novena with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!)
Finally, at some point during Advent…we decorate! At least one of our community recreations will be dedicated to putting up the Christmas tree, the nativity set, Christmas lights, garland, and whatever else we find! We deck the halls!
Personal Advent Practices
Many times, each sister will also freely choose a personal Advent practice to help her live Advent in closer union with Jesus. You may notice many of our Sisters taking a step away from social media during Advent. Others may choose a particular spiritual book to read during Advent. This is something you can do, too!
As Daughters of St. Paul, our Advent has a particular “color.” (I know, I know—Advent is purple!) Because of our mission of spreading the Gospel through, our Advent is characterized by helping others to draw closer to God. In the midst of the Christmas shopping frenzy, we try to help people encounter God, find a little peace, and share the peace and love of God with their loved ones through our books, music, and other media.
We meet hundreds and hundreds of people in our bookcenters and at our parish book displays. Many of our bookcenters hold an annual Baby Jesus Birthday Party—a Christmas event to help kids celebrate Baby Jesus’ birthday! And our Daughters of St. Paul choir goes on its annual Christmas concert tour, meeting thousands of people and helping them to encounter Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us. In these ways, and in so many others, our mission calls us to give of ourselves totally so that people may meet God right in the middle of this most wonderful, stressful time of the year!
During Advent, we also pray intensely for those we encounter in our mission. That includes you! Take a moment and recall all the intentions, all the desires you have in your heart this Advent. When Baby Jesus comes on Christmas Day, may you find the gift of his love for you waiting to be unwrapped!