Intentional Advent - Giving Drink to the Thirsty, Feeding the Hungry, and a General How's it All Going

I've been pretty excited for my idea to help our family give drink to the thirsty.  I feel like that work of mercy normally gets lumped in with feeding the hungry but I wanted to try to do something separate.  We normally try to get rid of some of our things this time of year (heck, I pretty much am doing that all year).  We've simplified our Christmas gifts a lot over the years both in our family and with extended family.  I like that a lot.  There is no barrage of plastic toys that will be soon tossed aside or broken under foot.  Christmas is plenty and full but I make a conscious effort that it be full of truly good things and not just stuff that is bought simply for the sake of opening a gift.  I want the gifts we get our children to be considered and intentional and chosen just for them.  

Anyway, rather than just toss them in the Goodwill bag, I decided this year that we could choose some of our toys and other items and sell them on Craigslist.  With the money we earn we'll buy a water pump for a poor village through Food for the Poor.  We listed the items during the first week of Advent and have sold a few!  The wooden toddler tool bench sold right away as well as a golf club and a rocking chair that was "bought" by friends.  We still have some items listed that I'm hoping will sell in the next few days.  I told the boys we would match whatever they earned (though we pretty much plan on making up the difference no matter what).  

(source: Food for the Poor)

Our feeding of the hungry wasn't quite as creative.  The day before Luke's birthday party (because I am ultra organized these days), John Paul sent out an email to our guests to let them know they were invited to bring any non-perishables they had to our party.  We collected them at the party to be donated to St. Luke's Mission of Mercy downtown.   While it wasn't a large food drive (maybe next year?), I'm certain that a few hungry people will have their tummies full from the offerings of our generous guests.

Our other Advent plans have been going well.  I have been so very impressed with how our Gifts for the King has motivated the boys.  John Paul is definitely at the forefront and has been doing extra chores, making his brothers' beds, taking care of Luke without being asked, and obeying immediately.  He's asked if we can keep doing this all year.  (Tempted...)  Sometimes these sorts of motivational activities fizzle out but this one hasn't and for that I'm grateful.  Having an older child helps with that!  

The decorations are up, though we still have some popcorn stringing to do, and my penchant for stubbornness is evidenced by the fact that I simply CANNOT give up certain decorations despite the fact that there is a destructo-toddler in the house.  Window candles, i.e. the most attractive thing in the world to a one year old...wires, glass bulbs, electricity, LIGHT, reflection, need I go on?...must. stay. up.  I'm insane.  So far 12 dozen cookies have been baked and stored.  Brian is already counting on me needing to make a second batch.  The fourth candle is waiting to be lit on Sunday.  I'm super impressed with how long these very inexpensive beeswax candles burn!  Beeswax it is from now on, I think.  Did you know that beeswax is the traditional material for liturgical candles?  I didn't.  But now I do.  I suppose that makes sense seeing that paraffin didn't exist way back when.

I'm a bit behind on gifts.  I decided to make a whole bunch of them because I think that's awesome and also I dabble in masochism.  Two more big ones to go so there's not some disappointment on Christmas morning!  Then wrapping, which loses it's charm through the years, doesn't it?  Must get to starting some preparations for our family's little feast after Christmas Eve Mass and hopefully this weekend we will "finish" our Advent works of mercy goal.  Oh, and clean.  Always with the cleaning...

I think I've been able to get up before everyone almost every day this Advent for some quiet and prayer time.  That is so necessary for my soul.  And my sanity.  I only wish it could last another hour or so.  I suppose it could if I were willing to get up at 5 a.m.  but so far, I am not.  This week we've been coloring the O Antiphon pages from Michele's site and the boys are enjoying that.  It's kind of cool that they've been getting into coloring this past year because it has never been a favorite activity.  Next year I hope to have something more planned for these "golden nights."  Our Jesse Tree is full of ornaments.  We've been doubling up the last few nights in order to get to them all before Christmas.  Joseph, Mary, and the donkey have been slowly making their way through the library shelves over to the stable.  We tend to forget about them sometimes and they then get to take long breaks on their journey.  She is pregnant after all.

So there's a little snapshot on our Advent around here.  We are certainly getting psyched for Christmas and my mild breakdown from last week has given way to joyful (if not always quiet or well organized) preparation.  Thanks be to God for husbands and long car trips.  

How are your Advent plans going?  


  1. Said it before, I will say it again...can I just join your family? Or, can I just send my boys to live with you guys? Like a boarding school for their souls? Sure, I will miss them, but it will certainly be givin them an edge on that whole, 'getting to heaven' thing, which is the whole point anyway right?

    1. Ha! I was just saying the same thing the other day about another family I know! We women are funny. But yes, you are free to send those cute biracial babies to me any day. I can live my dream ;)

  2. You are right about drink getting included in feeding the hungry. I don't think I ever even considered it as a seperate act. I love the pump for a village idea.

    I look at my manger with everyone already in place and smile to think about your house with the people traveling through your house getting closer to there destination. No little hands here to take care of travelers. :)

    I'm looking forward to seeing your windows with all of the candles and wreaths. Tell Luke Grandma is coming and she is looking forward to seeing the candles in the windows so please don't disturb them. I am sure those words will get him to leave them alone. LOL
    See you soon
    Grandma & Grumpy


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