Pre-Holiday Links and Resources -Advent 2018 and Christmas

With Thanksgiving this week, Advent is following quickly behind it!

But besides the busy preparation for Christmas, there are a lot of things we can do to really observe the season of Advent! Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan or join their Yahoo Group E-mail List Declutter and Clean!
Also DeClutter and Organize on Facebook. 

and get your planner ready~  Advent and Christmas Planner from Catholic Icing or Advent Planner from Wildflower and Marbles. 

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Our day at Pre-Cana

Out of the five years that Mr. Pete and I have helped out at Pre-Cana, this was one of our best years as far as our fellow speakers go. In the past, there were speakers who weren't very good, or who didn't really know what the church taught in regards to sexual morality, or who I felt left things kind of open ended, like the priest who said, "We hope you use NFP." (Kind of sounded to me like other options were available but NFP was what we preferred.)

This year the couple giving the talk on Sexuality in Marriage had taken an online course with Christopher West on The Theology of the Body and they were excellent. The Christian Morality Talk was also very good and true to the church's teachings.

My friend who handled the food did a great job - food was delicious!! And the prayer service at the end for which my friend played the guitar and I accompanied on flute, went very smoothly and I hope it was a moving experience for the couples.

The talk Mr. Pete and I gave, I felt went well too. We really have a lousy time slot- right before lunch!! But I know there were times the group was moved to laughter and to tears so we must have done something right!

The thing about our talk, which is about having a sacramental marriage, is that the couples really don't have any personal experience with which to tie too. It's like explaining what childbirth is like to people who haven't done it yet. They sorta, kinda get it, but going through it yourself gives you a different perspective. So much of what we said I'm sure went in one ear and out the other. Still all you can do is throw enough of it on the wall and hope some of it sticks!!

I took the time to read the evaluations afterwards. We weren't mentioned by name once. That can be a good thing. Talks they really hated were mentioned by name!! We probably fell more than likely into the "everything else was good!" category.

The overall evaluations were good, but there were some comments that made you wonder if you had just wasted a whole day. One guy said he thought we should have concentrated more on the money talks because, "Next to God and Family money is the most important thing in a marriage." Another gentleman said he would have liked the entire day better if "no one ever talked about mucus!" He must have been referring to the NFP talk. A lady said that no one had the right to tell them how to plan their family and that "Other methods should have been presented." So somehow she missed the part in our talk, the sexuality talk, the NFP talk and the Christian morality talk that the church doesn't condone artificial contraception. One wonders where her mind was during the presentations!!

But Mr. Pete says you can't make everyone happy and since the large majority of the evaluations were very good, you just have to consider the negatives as part of the curve.

Exactly half of the couples are marrying into Catholic/Protestant unions. Although I'm not thrilled with that, I do know that God sometimes brings the non-Catholic spouse into the church that way, so I try to be supportive. More disturbingly a large percentage are cohabitating. I wondered what they thought when Mr. Pete challenged the group to remain chaste until their wedding nights!

So hopefully we planted some seeds. Mr. Pete is content with that. I'm more the kind that likes to go out and prune, and weed, and hoe and watch for signs of sprouting, but of course I can't do that here so I feel a bit more frustrated. Offer it up I guess and look for ways to improve our presentation next year!

Please feel free to leave a comment under the posting, or sign my Spiritbook (guestbook). You can chat with me on the tag board to the right!