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6 Free Daily Reflections to Make the Most of Your Advent

Advent is a time to put your faith at the forefont. It’s a time to snuggle up next to the fire and imagine the Baby Jesus snuggled in swaddling clothes in the manger.

It’s a time of anticipation, of waiting for our King, of dreaming of the joy we will have in joining him in Heaven.

I love Advent. It makes me think of crisp cold days, dark nights and a time to burrow. Gone are the busy days of summer, of travel, of activity. It’s a wonderful season to use that burrowing time to renew our faith, remind ourselves of the gift we have been given and reignite that fire lest we be lukewarm for the arrival of our King.

Advent reflections Catholic

While email is NOT my favorite thing (I get WAY too many), I LOVE email about my faith. In fact, I make it part of my daily routine to read my faith emails while taking my dog for a walk :).

Usually that includes reading the USCCB’s email of the daily readings, Bishop Robert Barron’s reflections on the daily readings, the Divine Mercy Daily, Catholic News Agency’s daily round-up and a Mary’s Moms group I am a part of who pray for one another daily.

6 Free & Awesome Advent Reflections and Retreats

With that in mind, here are some wonderful free options to help you make the most of your Advent (which starts Sunday, December 2!), many of them daily or weekly emails. I will be adding a few of these to my daily email readings ūüôā

1. Dynamic Catholic/Matthew Kelly Best Advent Ever

Matthew Kelly was one of my favorite authors early on in my conversion to Catholicism, especially his “Rediscovering Catholicism” book. He has a real gift for explaining Catholicism in ordinary ways that are easy to understand, as well as relating the faith to everyday life. He is a great place to start as a Catholic newbie or for someone who doesn’t like to dive deep into theology.

This series offers his daily reflections on the season of Advent.

2. Bishop Barron’s Daily Reflections

Bishop Robert Barron is my current favorite person to follow when it comes to delving deep into the Catholic faith. The creator of the popular “Catholicism” video series and many wonderful series since, Bishop Barron goes a bit deeper, but does a fantastic job of explaining the theology of Catholicism to the average viewer or reader.

These daily reflections offer his thoughts on the Gospel Reading of the Day in the Catholic Church through Advent and beyond.

3. Advent Online Retreat From Pray More Novenas

Pray More Novenas is a nonprofit with hundreds of thousands of readers, which sends out regular novenas (prayers prayed over nine consecutive days) via email. If you’re the type (like me) who can’t seem to remember to pray a prayer nine days in a row, Pray More Novenas sends it to you via email so you can’t forget! Awesome!

They offer a special Advent retreat with videos from speakers on a variety of topics related to Advent. They do ask for a donation, but if you can’t pay anything, you’re still welcome to register.

4. Carmelite Online Advent Retreat

This retreat is offered from the Carmelite order perspective. They send a lengthy reflection each week that also includes prayers to pray each day.

5. EWTN Weekly Advent Reflections and Prayers

Visit this page and click on the Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4 at the top for a daily reflection, action you can take and prayer.

6. USCCB Daily Reflections and Prayer

Visit this site from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and click on the current date for a reading, reflection, action and prayer.

Other Great Advent Resources

Here are some other awesome Advent resources I recommend:

1. Catholic Answers’ information about Advent

2. Father Mike Schmitz’ video about Advent (one of my favorite priests; ideal for young adults!)

3.¬†Patrick Coffin’s Best Practices for Advent video

4. “Jesus is the Gift: The Spirituality of Advent & Christmas” by Regis J. Flaherty Book

This is a book I have read in the past and will be reading again this Advent. It’s a wonderful walk through Advent, taking a look at various people in the Gospel, including John the Baptist, Mary, the Wise Men and more.

Have a wonderful Advent!

How to Make an Advent Wreath in 4 Steps

 How to Make an Advent Wreath via @ACatholicNewbie

If you’re a Catholic newbie like me, you may not have an Advent wreath. In fact, I’ve run across plenty of longtime Catholics who’ve never had an Advent wreath! Problem solved! Just follow these simple¬†steps that even a non-crafty person like me can do easily, and you’ve got a new tradition to hand down through your family. Thanks to St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church for this idea.

Materials (total cost about $10-$15):

  • Green floral wire
  • Garland
  • Decorative items, such as pine cones, ornaments and other wreath stick-in type items
  • Ribbon
  • Advent wreath metal frame¬†– Two options you can order online: www.theCatholicGiftShop.com¬†or www.CatholicSupply.com
  • Advent taper candles (3 purple, 1 rose/pink)

Instructions:

You should be able to find most of the items at your local craft store. The metal frame for the wreath and Advent candles can usually be found at your local Catholic bookstore or online as noted above.

1) Take your metal frame and lay your garland on top. Use the green floral wire to attach the garland to the frame. Make sure your garland is arranged so that the wreath will sit flat on a table.

2) Add the decorative items you selected, such as pine cones or ornaments, to the garland and attach with floral wire to secure.

3) Wrap your ribbon around the garland loosely. Tie a pretty bow on one side. It’s usually easier if you create the bow separately and then tie it on with the ribbon you used to wrap around the garland.

4) Add your candles!

Remember to light your candles each Sunday of Advent. Use a prayer such as this Blessing of an Advent Wreath while lighting each candle. Check your local parish for free Advent materials with prayers, as well.

What is an Advent wreath? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says the four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. They say, “The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord‚Äôs first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead.”

Happy Advent!

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