Hands down, this is the most wonderful time of the year

By Sarah McDonald, NOLA Catholic Parenting

As Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) has come to an end and the Advent season is upon us, I can truly say we have reached what I consider to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Ever since I was a child, I would eagerly anticipate the stretch of time from Thanksgiving to Christmas when everyone just always seems to be happier and kinder, and the rules were stretched ever so slightly to allow for visits with friends and family or to watch that Christmas special on TV.

Now, as a parent, I still look forward to all of those things and as I experience them through my children’s eyes. The wonder of children during the holiday season is a gift to behold.

As I pondered that excitement and wonder, I started thinking about the stories of people so overwhelmed with “the holidays” and those who “can’t wait for Christmas to be over.”

I have never been one of those people and am grateful not to be! I offered a little silent prayer of thanksgiving and then one for them.

As I prepared to write this column, I thought perhaps we could all use a little prayer to help us take pause and remember the reason we come together to celebrate this season. So, I did what every good digital native would do: I googled “prayer for peace in Advent.”

The results were surprisingly great, but the best, in my opinion, were some offered by Dynamic Catholic. They had a short prayer for each week of Advent, but this one spoke to me the most:

“Dear Jesus, help us focus on you during this busy season. May we stay aware of the joy you bring into our lives. We want to find you in the everyday moments and come with hearts of gratitude to your manger on Christmas. Amen.”

Isn’t technology amazing! This prayer and more like them are available online through the “Best Advent Ever” program at www.dynamiccatholic.org, and I encourage each reader – particularly in the busyness of the season, when maybe we feel the most overwhelmed and ready for it to be “over” – to pause and pray so that we may all enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with our family and friends.

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!

Sarah McDonald is a wife and mother living with her family of seven in Metairie. Professionally, she works as director of communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She and her family are avid sports fans who love to cook and spend time with family and friends.

Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit our three-times-a-week blog and new podcast every other week at www.nolacatholicparenting.org or www.clarionherald.org.

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