Thomas and Gabriel Sherwin
Thomas and Gabriel Sherwin

For us and our family, the Advent and Christmas season is a time of traditions. The liturgical Church year begins with the season of Advent, a season of symbolically waiting and preparing for the Messiah to come. Although this season is more about anticipation than celebration, our traditions help make Advent fun and something to look forward to while preparing for the birth of Christ.

Our family’s Advent traditions include lighting an Advent wreath and using an Advent calendar. Our Advent wreath has four candles surrounding a Nativity scene. The Advent calendars we get every year are Lego Star Wars themed, where we build a small Lego object every day of Advent.  For members of our family, this is important to us because it makes us anticipate Christmas more.

Every year, our school celebrates certain Advent traditions.  For example, this year, during the Victorian Streetwalk in downtown Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Central Catholic School performed a Living Nativity, a reenactment that helps spread the news of the coming of Jesus.  We had the privilege of participating in the Living Nativity last year as two of the Wise Men.  Many people stopped in front of our school to watch, which was encouraging. This Advent tradition at Saratoga Central Catholic School (“Spa Catholic”) is an example of how we exhibit our Catholic beliefs in our community. Being two of the Wise Men made it feel like we were taking an important part in spreading the message of Jesus.

Spa Catholic also had a toy drive during Advent. Students donated toys and money for children who were not expected to receive many items. It is one of the ways Spa Catholic gives to the community and serves those in need. Another way Spa Catholic helps those in need is through the Adopt-a-Student Program from Saratoga County Children’s Committee, also known as the “Empty Stocking Project,” where students at Spa Catholic help families who do not have extra money fulfill Christmas wishes. These are the traditions that our family and school celebrated during the Advent season, and they all are ways of expressing our Catholic faith.

Thomas (9th grade) and Gabriel Sherwin (7th grade) are students at Saratoga Central Catholic School.