Last week I posted a review of Sarah Reinhard’s book, Welcome Baby Jesus. Today I’d like you to welcome Sarah herself to the blog!
Sarah, tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and what got you started writing for families and mothers.
I started blogging back in 2006 and it’s turned into writing for families and mothers. It’s a group I relate with because I’m part of it.
I live with my husband and three kids on a small farm in Ohio. We keep busy with all the usual things, plus chickens and horses and more, oh my!
There’s so much focus in your book on changing the heart. A lot of your activities have a strong penitential flavor to them. We tend to think of that as more a Lenten theme; why is it also important during Advent?
Advent is a penitential season! We forget that so quickly and easily, but it’s so critical that we prepare ourselves and our souls to meet Jesus. To do that, we have to step away from the sin we carry.
What better way to approach the manger than with a heart hungry for him?
Many of the “acts” you offer are all-day commitments, like Monday of Week 2, when you suggest that for one day, children obey the first time they’re told. Do you have suggestions for those whose mornings are so crazy, we they have trouble eating breakfast together in the morning? How do you suggest we share these reflections together?
In fact, I am one of those families! The first thing that comes to mind for my family (because maybe this year I will, in fact, try using my own book with my own family) is to do the reflections the night before, perhaps as part of an after-dinner (or even during dinner) discussion. I’ve even thought about making it part of our before bed ritual during Advent.
Then, the next morning, you can just remind each other of what the day’s focus is, maybe pray the prayer together, and out the door you go with your crazy day!
In the introduction to Welcome Baby Jesus you reassure us that it’s not critical to do every single day. Since the 4th week of Advent frequently gets swallowed up by the Christmas season, do you recommend moving some of those later reflections (which are beautiful!) earlier in the season? Or does it matter?
I don’t think it matters. At least, it can’t matter for ME, because I’ll get all obsessive and focused on that. And that is NOT what the focus is to be!
If you miss a day–and chances are, if you’re anything remotely like me, you will!–forgive yourself and pick it up the next day. It’s okay. Jesus understands. And he will be there for you on December 25. Period.
I love the fact that your book doesn’t end with Christmas Day, but celebrates the octave of Christmas and Epiphany. By the time Christmas arrives, so many are fed up with the whole season, and ready to get back to “ordinary time.” Why is it important to draw the distinction between anticipation (Advent) and celebration (Christmas)?
We lose sight of what Christmas really is about when we don’t prepare. The culture would have us believe that we ARE preparing when we shop and buy and decorate all throughout December.
I would maintain, though, that the more important preparation happens internally, within us.
Who will we be on Christmas Day? Are we ready to hold our arms open for the Baby? Can we give him our all?
It’s such a big deal that there’s more than a day to process it and celebrate it. And thank goodness for that! We spent four weeks getting ready, so now we get to spend a whole season celebrating!
What other projects do you have to share with us? Any exciting news coming down the pike?
My latest book, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism was released this fall and is the first in the new CatholicMom.com line of books from Ave Maria Press. You can learn more about the book here. I blog at SnoringScholar.com and also write regularly for CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. You can hear me with a Mary Moment on the iPadre podcast and as for exciting news…nothing I can share as of yet.
Well, if that’s not a tease, I don’t know what is. Guess we’d better all keep Sarah on our radar!
And now….for a giveaway! Sarah and I are giving ONE lucky winner a set of our Advent/Christmas books. If you like what you see, leave a comment here between now and tomorrow (that’s Tuesday, Dec. 4th, 2012) at midnight and be entered to win a signed copy of Welcome Baby Jesus and Joy to the World: Advent Activities For Your Family!
For extra entries, help me spread the word! Mention Welcome Baby Jesus and Joy to the World on Twitter or Facebook (and mention me so I know about it!–Facebook: Kathleen M. Basi, Twitter: @kathleenmbasi). Better yet, refer people to this post. For each one you’ll get an additional entry. For every day you tweet or FB it, you get additional entries. On Wednesday morning, we will do an old-fashioned, low-tech drawing and announce a winner.
Any questions? If not–go!