Advent Amid the Gift Wrap

Advent Amid the Gift Wrap

by Tom McGrath
Liturgical Year: Advent

“Are you ready for Christmas?” asked a guy I see at the train station every day. I thought of the long list of gifts I still needed to buy and the calendar crammed with holiday events and parties, and I shook my head. “Hardly,” I said, and we both laughed knowingly.

On my train ride downtown I turned off my iPod and let my mind ponder that question a little deeper. “Am I ready for Christmas?” This time I thought about the meaning of the holiday—the Son of God coming to earth to dwell among us and show us the way to eternal life. Again I shook my head and murmured to myself, “Hardly.”

It was then that I vowed to take advantage of every opportunity to prepare my heart for the coming of the Christ Child into the world—the world you and I live in.

What I discovered was that if we know what we're preparing for, everything we encounter on the way to Christmas can prepare us for the coming of Christ, not only in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago but also into our homes, our families, our workplaces, and our communities. The usual December distractions can instead become holy moments when we find the Christ Child in our midst.

Having the right attitude and perspective on the season will help you and your family avoid the excesses that make certain Christmas preparations frantic, yet draining and disappointing. As theologian John Shea says, “The task seems to be the delicate one of learning to make the customs and traditions of Christmas serve the Spirit.”

Take a look at some of December's demanding activities with new eyes, eyes that fully expect to find God in every moment of this season of hope.


Tom McGrath 

Tom McGrath is the author of Raising Faith Filled Kids, The Meal Box, and is one of the authors of the God’s Gift series.

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Books by Tom McGrath

En torno a la mesa

Preguntas divertidas para compartir la fe en familia

¡Sea tan amable en pasar la sal, la pimienta y En torno a la mesa para iniciar la conversación! Se han combinado preguntas chistosas y creativas que ofrecen siempre consejos prácticos en torno a la fe de los que se podrán beneficiar cada vez que se sienten a la mesa

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The Meal Box

Fun Questions and Family Tips to Get Mealtime Conversations Cookin'

Pass the salt and pepper–along with The Meal Box. Creatively fun questions combined with helpful family faith tips spice up every mealtime conversation. 54 cards in plastic case.

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Raising Faith-Filled Kids

Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home

Offers a generous collection of easy tips and tools to help parents realize a spiritual path and inspire virtue, discipline, and hope in their families.

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Educando hijos en la plenitud de la fe

Raising Faith-Filled Kids (Spanish)

Ofrece una abundante recopilación de consejos e instrumentos fáciles para ayudar a padres y madres a seguir una senda espiritual e inspirar la virtud, la disciplina y la esperanza en sus familias.

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The Beatitudes for Families (50-pack)

In The Beatitudes for Families, the Beatitudes are beautifully presented with original artwork. On one side, you will find the words of Christ as found in Matthew 5:3-10. On the other side, you will find an adapted version of the Beatitudes written specifically for families by Tom McGrath, author of Raising Faith-Filled Kids.

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Las Bienaventuranzas para las familias (50-pack)

El Papa Francisco ha llamado a las Bienaventuranzas un "programa para la santidad" y "el camino a la verdadera felicidad", en otras palabras, la expresión de la esencia del mensaje de Cristo.

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The Works of Mercy for Families (50-pack)

In The Works of Mercy, beautiful artwork surrounds the words taken from the Gospel of Matthew. One side shows the Corporal Works of Mercy and the other shows the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

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Las obras de misericordia para las familias (50-pack)

En Las obras de misericordia las palabras tomadas del Evangelio de Mateo se presentan en un hermoso diseño. De un lado se muestran las obras de misericordia corporales y del otro las obras de misericordia espirituales.

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