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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Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday

St. Valentine

For the first time in 73 years, Ash Wednesday is falling on Valentine's Day. When this occurred in 1945, the United States was still fighting World War II. I am keeping in mind the somber hope and sacrifice my parents and grandparents must have experienced on that first day of Lent as the nation rationed its goods and waited for the men and women in our armed forces to come home. In most ways, we have it much easier this time around than they did!

Lavictoire brothers world war 2

But the 1945 lovers had it much better off than the folks who lived during St. Valentine's time. 


St. Valentine lived in the third century, during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It seems the Emperor was having some difficulty recruiting and keeping men for his army, and so he banned marriages and engagements. Valentine, a Roman Catholic priest, was arrested, beaten and beheaded for performing wedding ceremonies in secret. February 14 is celebrated as his feast day because that is the day he was martyred!

So maybe this very rare juxtaposition of Valentine's Day with Lent is very significant because it causes to see past the hearts, flowers and greeting cards and see the great importance of marriage - so important that it was worth a mighty sacrifice for some like Valentine- a sacrifice of his own life. 

So while we fast this Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day, let us do it with the intention of offering our small sacrifice for our spouse, or for our children's future spouse, and for the sanctity of marriage to be preserved during this time when so many forces working to undermine that institution. Let us also remember the sacrifice of our priests, who like St. Valentine, suffer and sacrifice for all of us and minister to us with the sacraments every day of the year.