Lights and decorations are appearing all over homes and stores. At church, green cloths will change to purple. All of us, including our children, can see the changing season around us. It’s exciting and thrilling and sometimes so much that we can lose sight of why we’re decorating and baking and gifting. Katherine Bogner‘s newest book All About Advent and Christmas is the perfect way to pause as a family and enjoy all the deeper meaning and tradition of this time of year.
I received this book for review courtesy of the publisher; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
A Look Inside
Katherine Bogner begins with creation, with light, and then the story of Adam and Eve and sin, and God’s promise of a saviour. “That’s where Advent begins—it is a time of waiting for the coming Messiah.” At Christmas, our children certainly know about waiting! Katherine then explains the Liturgical seasons and how, each year in our churches, we walk through Jesus’ life. She touches briefly on the dates, colours, and focus of each season.
In the next chapters, Katherine explains the Advent season in more detail. She discusses the St. Andrew Christmas novena, hymns and wreaths. She talks about different traditions around the world and the Jesse tree. Then she focuses on the saints of Advent, especially Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist. Kids will also learn more about Christmas decorations, including the Nativity scene and the 12 Days of Christmas.
In the middle of Advent, kids may be surprised to see that the priest is wearing pink! Katherine answers all their questions about Gaudete Sunday. She also explains the O antiphons and where they can be found in Scripture. All of these traditions help us to wait in anticipation, just as God’s people did before Jesus’ birth.
As Christmas arrives, Katherine returns to the theme of light. She draws children into the symbolism of the Christmas story and who Jesus is. And before we get too disappointed that Christmas is over, Katherine mentions Epiphany and ideas for celebrating it.
Like Katherine’s other books, this one is a treasure. With beautiful illustrations by Shari Van Vranken and simple but profound descriptions, All About Advent and Christmas really helps draw children into the wonder and waiting of the season. Some of the traditions in the book may be familiar to you, while others may be new. For example, we’ve done a Jesse tree in past year, but not the O antiphons.
As a Catholic mom, I’ve deeply appreciated resources which help me fully live our liturgical year, such as Maria von Trapp’s Around the Year with the von Trapp Family. While that book is full of ideas for moms, All About Advent and Christmas is accessible for the whole family, making it easy to explain our traditions to even the youngest children.
All About Advent and Christmas is also perfect for busy families who can’t add too much to the calendar. It offers just the highlights of the liturgical seasons—quick but thought-provoking explanations for the traditions that we too often take for granted each year. This book moves through the liturgical season with you, with just a few pages to read per week (perhaps before or after Sunday Mass).
During Advent, we often have a family tradition of reading through a devotional book together. I’ll light the candles (in our Advent wreath or just around the house) and gather the kids to do a quiet activity like coloring while I read. Katherine’s book is the perfect way to begin each week in Advent and reflect on the beauty of the season in the midst of its busyness.
You can drop by the St. Paul Center website to preview All About Advent and Christmas or order your own copy.
More about the Author and Illustrator
Katherine Bogner is a Catholic school teacher from Illinois who is passionate about equipping parents, catechists, and teachers to share the beauty and truth of Christ and His Church with children. She is the author of Through the Year with Jesus and Through the Year with Mary. Drop by her website for free lesson plans, printables, and other resources for teaching the faith.
Shari Van Vranken is a graphic designer and illustrator with over thirty years of experience. The creative force behind CatholicPaperGoods.com, Shari has illustrated and shared the stories of over three hundred saints. She homesteads and homeschools in Texas with her husband and teenage son.