A review of Brother Francis Advent products
By Desiree Hausam
Advent is a beautiful season, packed with meaning and overflowing with opportunities for spiritual growth. It's a time for wonder, prayer, and learning together as a family.
But in today's world - hectic enough in normal times, let alone this year - the season of Advent becomes quickly overwhelmed with everyday life and the festivities of the impending Christmas holidays. Year after year, our best intentions get run clean over before they can even begin.
At least, mine sure do. Can you relate?
My Catholic faith is profoundly important to me; sharing it with my family is one of my highest callings. But, even so, in the rush of family life, I have a hard time planning meaningful activities that will really reach my kids, especially with a wide age range still at home.
That's why I'm so delighted to share Brother Francis's Advent materials with you.
If you have younger children, Brother Francis has ready-to-go resources to help you share the spirit and message of Advent with them. The materials are geared to ages 3-8, with a multimedia approach that will appeal to kids with a variety of learning styles.
There are materials for a variety of needs.
If you are looking for a daily devotional:
If you are looking for something to do daily with your kids (or your classroom), the Days of Advent DVD and/or Reader are an excellent solution. I really like the idea of having a daily solution that cuts out the prep work for me, leaving me more time to focus on sharing in this season.
If you need a fun activity:
Try a coloring storybook! These are great for keeping little hands busy during readalouds or other quiet times (including Mass, for the littles). Kids can start to internalize the story of St. Nicholas or the story of the first Christmas while enjoying a fun activity.
There are also inexpensive coloring pages available for instant download, which I love. These might be my personal favorite, just because they are available RIGHT NOW. (That is when I tend to realize I need something.) When my oldest daughter (who just turned 21) was about 6, there was nothing she loved more than choosing a printable coloring page and having me print it off for her on the spot.
The Advent-themed coloring pages are a really great way to keep kids engaged - my own kids tend to be able to pay attention a whole lot better when I keep the hands busy!
For something to listen to:
On car rides, our family ALWAYS has music going, even on short trips. It's important that that time doesn't go to waste; kids can learn so much from our listening choices.
But, it's no fun for anyone to make EVERY trip a learning experience. That kind of pressure gets exhausting.
You know you have really hit gold when you have something wholesome and nourishing that they really enjoy. Then, you can relax, knowing that they're having fun and absorbing the great truths of our faith at the same time.
Brother Francis has a Christmas music album, as well as an audio drama about the First Christmas that includes music and songs. Kids will love listening to them in the car, or at home.
My personal favorite?
I love the Advent Bundle!
The bundle includes the Days of Advent devotional DVD and Reader that I mentioned earlier. It also has the Let's Learn About Advent Reader, geared for kids ages 6 and up. This combination of resources is just right for me - I think it would be a great addition to your family's Advent, too.
So, if you are struggling to keep up this Advent, or you just want to try something different - Brother Francis has a great lineup of resources to try.
Desiree is a convert to the Catholic Church, writer, and mother of 9. At her blog, Green Catholic Burrow, she creates resources to help other converts and reverts along the road home, as well as helping lifelong Catholics see their ancient faith through fresh eyes.