Let’s get right to it: this year’s Catholic Advent devotional, Bearing Light, is here, and we are so elated! It has been edifying to pray with you fine women through Advent over the last few years, and we simply cannot wait to do it again. If you’re like us, once this journal is in your hands, you’ll be counting down the days to Advent with joyful anticipation.
Or perhaps this change of season finds you weary. Perhaps you’re carrying a heavy cross that makes deep prayer seem impossible. Perhaps you are eager to embrace the stillness of Advent and the call of the Church: Come, Lord Jesus! Wherever your soul is this Advent, we are thankful to pray with and for you.
What is Advent?
Advent is the liturgical season in the Church that occurs before and in preparation for Christmas every year. It is a time of deep reflection, penance, and spiritual growth in the lives of the faithful. During Advent, we reflect on the three comings of Christ:
- History (when He was born in Bethlehem and lived His earthly life)
- Mystery (in the Sacrament of the Eucharist)
- Majesty (the Second Coming)
When most of us are even busier than usual—hosting traveling family and friends, attending holiday parties, shopping for Christmas gifts, doing festive crafts with the kids, and finalizing end-of-year details at work—Advent reminds us to stop. Breathe. Hope. Wait. To make our own journey to Bethlehem to behold and rest with the Child Jesus.
When is Advent?
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas day. This year, Advent begins on December 2nd.
How Do Catholics Celebrate Advent?
Our Church’s tradition is wide and deep, and this is no exception when it comes to how we celebrate Advent in the Catholic Church.
Popular traditions include the displaying and lighting of Advent candles in an evergreen wreath, the O Antiphons, sacrifices and mortifications (think of it like a “mini Lent”), the Jesse Tree, and more.
Naturally, at Blessed is She, one of our favorite ways to enter into Advent is through prayerful reflection upon Sacred Scripture and a corresponding devotion.
The 2018 Catholic Advent Devotional for Women
And so, every year, we strive to offer you such an invitation and opportunity to do that very thing with the release of the Advent devotional journal. This year’s devotional is called Bearing Light and was written by BIS devotional writer Shannon Evans.
In the Catholic Advent devotional, we reflect on a Scripture passage every day of the season. Each passage is accompanied by a reflection, space to journal or draw, and one concrete thing to focus on that day.
What is the Theme of this Year’s Advent Journal?
This Advent, as we walk through the season together with the Advent Journal, we will be diving into Mary’s Magnificat as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Shannon walks us through these simple yet profound words from our Mama and her exchange with St. Elizabeth. We’ll see how their unwavering confidence in God and their dignity in Him allowed them to bear His light to the entire world.
When we recognize the likeness of God inside us, we can stop striving to earn His love and start living like we already have it... - Shannon Evans #bisadvent // Click To Tweet
When we recognize the likeness of God inside us, we can stop striving to earn His love and start living like we already have it; so that, like our Blessed Mother and her cousin Saint Elizabeth, we truly can be free to say “yes” to the callings God gives us. – Shannon Evans
Is this Something I Use on My Own or in a Group?
Either/or, both/and! Many women like to use this study in their pre-existing small groups from their parish or local community. Lots of small groups begin to gather for the first time around this Advent devotional. And, as always, this can be a more personal and private Advent devotional you practice.
There is no right or wrong way to “do Advent.” You’re not failing if you miss a day. Examine your heart. Are you seeking His face? Are you striving for holiness in the mundane details of your ordinary life? Then you’re imitating Mary this Advent as we all prepare for the coming of Christ.
Why Should I Pray with the Advent Devotional?
So, is the Advent devotional worth your time and hard-earned money? We think so. We’ve seen the many fruits in our own souls in past years. But we also turned to our Blessed is She community to see what they’ve experienced with Advent journals in the past.
Here’s what they had to say…
First, I love how beautiful the Advent journals have been. Mine became part of the sacred space I use for personal prayer. Sometimes just glancing over and seeing the journal laying beautifully on my makeshift altar inspired the desire to pray.
Second, I loved the themes of each one which helped me explore more deeply the richness of the Catholic Faith and the mystery of the Incarnation. I loved the use of Scripture and the poignancy of the reflections. Also the questions for personal reflection and journaling were so well written and they really helped me in connecting to God and pondering His action in my life.
Finally, I’ve loved the incorporation of art and drawing, the creative aspect, into the journaling. Coloring and drawing opened up a whole new creative way to connect to God. Since the I’ve started drawing and coloring on my daily spiritual journal. -Jaimee P.
I enjoyed that the Advent Journal isn’t just another, “Here are the daily Mass readings and a reflection” book. Those are great, but they get boring for me. These all had a theme…. They also weren’t super long each day. -Beth Anne K.
Advent is my favorite liturgical season and I felt like I really got to dive into it last year with the journal. Last Christmas was the first time I actually felt really spiritually prepared for Christmas. -Carina M.
The Blessed is She Advent Bundle: Helping You Pray with Your Whole Life
Along with the Advent Journal itself, we wanted to offer you even more ways to incorporate the spirit of the Magnificat and the spirit of Advent into your daily life.
In this year’s Advent Bundle, not only will you receive the Advent devotional, but also a canvas wristlet and a candle.
The canvas wristlet is great quality and it is designed with the words imago Dei (“image of God”) to reflect the theme of this year’s Catholic Advent devotional. This bag would be perfect for your pens and highlighters. You can keep this bag and your journaling tools close. It would also be great as a makeup bag. And perhaps spiritually useful this way, as, admittedly, I’m often most critical of my appearance when I put on makeup. Remembering that I’m made in the image of God might help dispel these thoughts.
We’re also so pumped about this candle, which Jenna poured the wax of her heart and soul into for us! The candle is made of natural soy wax, has a cotton wick, and is scented with essential oils (that’s crunchy speak for “it’s a candle that’s good for you and good for the environment”). The essential oils used are frankincense and myrrh, so it will basically smell like Baby Jesus in your house. Ah-mazing. I normally light a candle for my morning prayer time, and I’m so excited to use this one during Advent!
O Come, Emmanuel // O Come, Let Us Adore Him
Sisters, know that you have been and will continue to be in our prayers. We count ourselves blessed to be able to pray through Advent with you each year. We know that the Lord wants to move in our hearts in mighty ways as we prepare to celebrate His birth. No matter how we pray and prepare, may we all grow in confidence in God and our goodness that comes from Him. May we all place more of our hearts into His capable Hands. May we long for Him, love Him, adore Him, and follow Him.
What is your prayer for this coming Advent season? What are you hoping to bring to the Lord’s manger? To receive from Him?
*Get Bearing Light here. Fair warning: they sell out every year*IT'S HERE!!! Introducing Bearing Light // The 2018 Catholic Advent Devotional for Women from @blessedisshe__ Click To Tweet
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky, where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She works from home as an editor and social media manager while raising her children and laughing with her husband. Although she now spends most of her free time away from the internet, past adventures are still on her blog. You can find out more about her here.
*Advent Devotional photo generously provided by the talented Katie Waldow *