Last week I was at “Las Alitas” which is one of our ministries to the needy in Juarez. When you drive up the dirt road to the area you can’t help but notice that this is an area of poverty. We were praising the Lord before Mass, and I noticed that several of the people brought advent wreaths to be blessed by the priest.
The Advent wreaths were not poorly made wreaths, in fact the opposite was true. The people put time, effort, and money into these. The wreaths had the three purple candles, the pink candle and a white candle in the center. Beautiful artificial greens around the bottom were garnished with ribbons and glitter of all sorts. I have made plenty of Advent wreaths in my life but these were nicer than any I have made. The priest came around with holy water and blessed each wreath as the people held them up high.
Then to add to my already humbled state, the collection baskets came around and people were putting their coins in the basket. I was watching the widow’s mite Bible story come alive. Gulp!
What did I learn from this: these people, who have so little, are generous and know that their spiritual life comes first. They were prepared for Advent, support their church, and many went on a retreat this weekend.
Advent is such a beautiful time in the Church. It is the beginning of the Church year and a good way to refocus on our spiritual life and the care of others.
The Advent wreath is a good way to help with that. It is a wonderful devotion to do with children. There is a little book that I used with my kids that keeps it very simple. If the prayers are not simple, then it often gets overlooked after a while.
The children enjoy learning the symbolism and enjoy lighting the candles.
Let’s learn from the less fortunate and put some time and effort this Advent into what is really important. Think about how you as a family can grow spiritually and how you can bless others.
Blessed Advent Season to you all!
Mary Ann / Mother Hen
P.S. I have attached a picture of the book that I used in case you are interested in getting one. As you can see, it is all beat up because it was well used. It is called Advent Begins at Home and is available on Amazon for $3.99. The author is David Poiek and Rita Anderhub.