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Keeping – perhaps even getting – a faith focus during Advent can be a challenge … and probably is a challenge for most of us. We get caught up in a variety of Christmas-related activities – most good in their own way – but lose sight of what’s really happening at Christmas and how we can prepare to celebrate it in a more complete sense during Advent.

So, how do we meet that challenge? You could turn to any number of resources for suggestions. But don’t pick up your phone or go to your computer to seek out the answers in that all-knowing, all-everything resource we know as Google.

Just read a couple of stories in this issue of the Catholic Voice and you’ll get all the ideas you need. Contributing writer Lisa Maxson takes a look at what members of one family do to bring a faith focus to their Advent journey in a story that starts on Page 1. You’ll find all sorts of ways to make your Advent more special, more faith-connected and more a part of the journey to Christmas.

News editor Joe Ruff reports on activities in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs in a story on Page 5. While some of the activities are specific to students, some of the prayer and reflection suggestions would work for anyone.

A third article in this issue provides still another perspective on Advent and Christmas activities. Senior writer Mike May looks at how grandparents share family traditions – some they started, others they continued – with their grandchildren.

Some of the traditions are related to Advent, others are more Christmas focused and still others bridge the seasons. One tradition, started by a grandmother from St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, caught my eye because it involves gifts for grandchildren. And with 18 grandkids, my wife and I always are looking for ideas.

This particular grandmother simplifies her life while teaching a great lesson of service and faith to her grandchildren. She gives them the gift of giving.

Learn about her gift in Mike’s story on Page 7. No computer or cell phone required.

 

NO AGE REQUIREMENT

Nov. 6 marked the end of the 40 Days for Life fall campaign, an effort that locally translated into thousands of hours of prayer presence at abortion clinics, untold hours of private prayer and efforts to increase awareness of this movement and the pro-life message regarding abortion.

The campaign, however, goes beyond the numbers, especially when looking at the people involved. Pro-life people can’t be painted with a broad brush. Visiting one of the abortion clinics one Saturday morning during the prayer effort, I discovered a diverse collection of people in age … even in prayer.

One group of 15 to 20 adults – some with their children in tow – gathered across the street, sometimes praying in silence, sometimes as a group and sometimes singing hymns.

On the clinic side of the street, a group of students from a Catholic high school joined together in a rosary for life.

A grandmother nearby prayed by teaching her toddler granddaughter to sing "Jesus Loves the Little Children," and before the end of the hour, the toddler was leading the grandmother in song.

Two other adults arriving to pray were joined by an elderly man who approached the area using a walker, and bringing a folding chair for his hour of prayer. They and other adults on hand for their scheduled hour of prayer joined in a rosary and conversation about life.

This diversity in age reflects a hope in the efforts to end abortion, hope that rests in their hearts and in their conviction that abortion is wrong. And that’s where the battle for life will be won.

 

Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at ragrosse@archomaha.org.

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