Wandering the warehouse at The Catholic Company is a bit like being a kid in a candy store. I am constantly amazed at the varied, personal, and unique selection of products we offer our customers. From sacramental celebrations to celebrating the gift of friendship, we've got it. From rosary-making to roasting gourmet coffee, we're doing it in our warehouse. It's no wonder I found the Advent inspiration I needed on our warehouse shelf twelve years ago: an Advent Journal.
A New Routine
I first began working at The Catholic Company for our Christmas season in 2010. Returning to the workplace after eleven years at home raising a family meant serious changes to my routine. I was sacrificing much of my discretionary time, and wearing yet another hat in everyday life.
At home with my children during those early years, I had the luxury of a lifestyle as contemplative as I cared to make it. Of course life was busy, but it was often flexible, and essentially on my terms. Working outside the home again was harder than I thought - and I was already expecting it to be challenging.
Silencing myself and entering into prayer became difficult. I had less stamina, and was more distracted. I often skipped my precious early-morning prayer time, because it became harder to drag myself out of bed when the rest of the house was still silent.
After arriving home from work, helping my older kids with homework, playing with my toddler, dinner, cleanup, making lunches for the next day, and everyone's bedtime routines, I thought I would enjoy my quiet time when they all went to sleep. Unfortunately, I fell asleep then too!
Help Entering Into Advent
I was so busy learning to juggle work and home that I was woefully unprepared for the arrival of Advent. It has always been my favorite liturgical season. An opportunity to reawaken our hearts to the longing, hope, and fresh anticipation of the King Who Is To Come. Just thinking about it brings me joy.
Advent is a precious gift of the Church - a time to sweep our hearts clean and prepare them anew for Jesus. It's a Reset Button in the spiritual life, and believe me, I need Reset Buttons. That year, they were particularly appropriate!
Everything seemed off. I wasn't ready. I wasn't able to recollect myself the way I wanted to. Frustrated and unable to maintain a consistent routine for private prayer, I strolled through The Catholic Company warehouse on my lunch break, looking for something that might help me. I found it on our shelves.
Discovering Advent Journals
Journals especially for the season of Advent? I never knew they existed, but it made perfect sense. Guided journaling prompts your thoughts and reflections, and leads you through a more prayerful and recollected season. Using an Advent Journal can help you quiet yourself. It can also bring the wonder of the season to life in your heart, in profound and meaningful ways.
If we become too busy during Advent, we miss the treasures it has to offer us. An Advent Journal or Advent Meditation Book presents these gifts to us. It steps us through them one by one, invites us to behold them, and then helps us reflect upon them, in order to deepen our entry into this mystical time.
The icing on the cake for preoccupied but faithful Christians in the bustle of the season? Someone else has done all the work thoughtfully designing the journal, laying its riches out before us. We can enjoy the fruits of their labors without burdening ourselves.
For Yourself or Someone You Cherish
Here at The Catholic Company, we have many beautiful Advent Journals in various formats. They feature daily Scripture readings, reflections, questions for meditation, prayers, hymns, quotations, writings of the saints, and inspiring artwork. If journaling isn't your thing, an Advent Meditation Book provides readings, reflections, and prayers without prompting you to write.
There's something for everyone. Though they are all different, they have a common goal: enriching your experience of the Advent season, and opening your heart to the glories of His coming.
Want to get more out of Advent this year? Remove yourself from the busy-ness and distraction? Know someone who needs to reclaim quiet time or take time for self-care and prayer? An Advent Journal or Advent Meditation Book can reawaken your heart to the awe and anticipation of the King of Kings.
Taking quiet time each day to contemplate God and the gift of the season, you will hear His voice in the noise and cacophony of the world. You'll be surprised at how much you enjoy quieting yourself, stepping away from the chaos, and making your own little Advent pilgrimage for just a few moments of recollection and peace.
In that sacred silence, prompted by readings and reflections, you will draw closer to Emmanuel, God With Us. You will experience and enjoy the season differently - profoundly. Instead of just passing you by, Advent will become present to you, and so will He.
When you use an Advent Journal or Meditation Book this season, you may find your sacred time with Him so restorative and beneficial that you wish to continue even after Christmas. After all, Advent is an invitation to live differently - to immerse ourselves in the joy of Christ, the gift of Him.
It's not just about making way for the tiny Babe for a season. It's a reminder of the grandeur and wonder of Him every day in the Eucharist. It's about that day when this world will pass away, and He will once again come for us - not as a newborn Babe in a manger, but as our King of Glory.
Here are some wonderful Advent Journals and Advent Meditation Books to help you adore Our Lord more prayerfully and experience His coming more powerfully this season. May the Infant King of Glory bless you and yours in Advent and in every aspect of your lives.
A beautifully-illustrated journal used for the month of December to help you sense and recall God's presence in your life. Simply-formatted sections invite you to Read, Ponder, Praise, & Pray using a serene and lovely daily meditation with thought-provoking questions for journaling and reflection.
Each week of this journal features a different theme: Vigilance, Preparation, Nearness, and Emmanuel. Themes present themselves in daily Scripture Readings, accompanying eflections, Questions for Meditation and Journaling, and Closing Prayers for each day.
Accompany Our Lady through the season with a journal based on the practice of Lectio Divina. For each day of Advent, you read a daily Scripture passage, meditate on what it means to you in your own life and what resonates with you, then respond to the Lord about that meaning. Journal as you contemplate what He asks of you in it, and resolve to encounter His love by acting on what you read each day.
Focus on a different aspect of the Christmas story each week: Motherhood, Fatherhood, Childhood, and the Stable. You receive Mary as your own mother, accept St. Joseph as your spiritual father, adopting and acknowledging his strength and virtues, become childlike with Jesus, reawakening your inner joy, and experience the love and comfort of the stable. As you progress, you focus on healing wounds and bringing greater unity, stability, peace, and hope to your own life and family. A meditation, reflection questions, journaling prompts, and prayers guide you step-by-step with the Holy Family.
A unique and lovely book inspired by the medieval tradition of the illuminated Book of Hours, this Advent companion introduces you to one character from the Christmas story each day in the month of December. See the Nativity from the perspectives of the Archangel Gabriel, the Magi, the Star of Bethlehem, Our Lady, the Christ Child, and more. Enjoy a reflection and the accompanying artwork, praying in the ancient form known as Visio Divina, using sacred images to inspire you, as you read Scripture and reflections about the characters in the beloved Christmas story.
Carefully selected to lift your soul to God in those hectic days that stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas, these forty daily meditations will keep you mindful of the real meaning of Christmas. Written by renowned and beloved homilist Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, these meditations will sweep you away to the prophecy made by Isaiah, the Annunciation with the Archangel Gabriel, the journey to Bethlehem, and the crib of the Newborn King. Designed to help you step away from the busy season and into the peace of Christ's coming.
Experience the joy of praying with the words of Pope St. John Paul II. Reflections for each day - from the First Sunday of Advent until the end of the Christmas season - begin with selections from talks and statements of the late Holy Father, renowned for his wisdom, love, passionate embrace of God, and leadership of the Church. Each excerpt from his talks or writings is followed by a related Scripture reading, prayer, and a suggested activity appropriate for the day.
This book of Advent and Christmas wisdom will both challenge you and warm your heart during your annual preparation for the Lord's coming. Nouwen shares with the reader his own journey of waiting while seeking the Lord. From the First Sunday of Advent until the end of the Christmas season, each day features selections from talks and writings of this great spiritual writer, followed by a thought-provoking Scripture reading, prayer, and a suggestion for an activity or practice that reinforces the message of the day.