It’s That Time Again – Advent Journals 2022!

Can you believe it’s already one month to Advent. Again!? I always thought adults were so silly in their comments about how “quickly time flies” and “don’t grow up too quickly” but boy were they right! I cannot believe we are already bringing 2022 to a close. Funny side story. I had to fill out the usual paperwork and releases that come with going to the dentist for our kids the other day. I had to re-fill out about half of the papers because I dated them all 2023! Time goes fast enough and there I was jumping a whole calendar year.

Time may fly, but there are things that stay constant. I love how our liturgical cycle moves in a predictable manner throughout the year, gently bringing us along as the seasons shift. The world has its own method of transitioning from one season to another, but it feels more jarring. Each year, holiday decorations seem to appear in the stores earlier and earlier. “Back to school season” was already in full swing by mid-June with Halloween candy on the shelves as the first day of school arrived. So much time is spent in anticipation of the next season that we don’t really get the opportunity to celebrate the present one.

Seasons of preparation are important. We prepare for a big trip, prepare for a school year, prepare for a new baby. The Church recognized the need to take time to adequately prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas as well as in anticipation of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Then, when the Christmas and Easter seasons arrive, we are ready to fully participate in the joyful tidings. Our two seasons of preparation have their own markers, symbols and flair that help us settle into their particular moods and themes.

One of Advent’s big symbols is the Advent Wreath. Thinking back on my own celebrations of Advent, the wreath is always a part of this season of preparation. We had a wreath growing up that sat on the dining table. As our kids have grown, we have mostly made homemade wreaths thanks to The Mass Box‘s Advent box. This year, we have a new wooden wreath I am excited about from Shining Light Dolls (no affiliation with either company, just love the stuff!).

As I was beginning to discern what this year’s Advent journal would be about, I found myself drawn to the wreath. I realized that while each year we light the candles, I don’t actually know that much about what the candles symbolize. As I began to explore, the deeper I was drawn. Around the same time, I was so blessed to be able to review a Gregorian chant CD featuring Advent hymns from the monks at Clear Creek Abby. In the introduction, I was struck by this statement regarding the music:

Out of simplicity there can come music worthy to proclaim the holiness of God.

Rorate Coeli CD – The Monks of Clear Creek

I don’t know if you know my brain, but it likes to take a small idea and blow it up really quickly, usually overcomplicating things. My small idea about an Advent wreath based journal had already become overworked and complex within 30 seconds of conceiving it. This quote pulled me back and God used it as a means of refinement. What follows is a very simple journal, but I hope one that helps you to recognize God’s abundant love and mercy in your life.

As every year, this is a completely free resource. This year, it is not tied to the cycle of readings in any substantial way, so it could be used for any Advent from here forward. While there is space for journaling each day, there are only a few specific writing prompts. Instead, there are carefully selected Scripture passages, saint quotes, catechism references and even a song from which you can draw inspiration to spark your conversation with God. The Advent Candles provide the overarching theme for each week – did you know each candle represents something different to guide our thoughts and prayers during that week?! I knew this someplace in the back of my mind but never really let the candles provide any kind of framework to my Advent season. I am excited to continue my meditations on them as Advent draws near.

There are 2 versions, identical in content, different in layout. There is the 8.5×11 print copy which totals 35 pages. You can of course double side that and cut it in half. There is also the booklet layout which needs only 9 pages. Be sure to check your printer’s settings for printing double sided regardless of layout you select.

Due to the small amount of cited Biblical text in this particular journal, you may print copies to share with friends and family (this is different from other Advent journals on the site. Please be aware of any copyright notices on other downloadable resources). With permission from your pastor, you may share this journal in print form with your wider parish community. As always, you are free to link this post in your bulletin, newsletter, personal social media, etc. so anyone can download and print their own copy.

I hope that this journal offers you some space for peace and rest with God during the Advent season.

To Be “Knitworthy” – Advent Journals are HERE!

First, the exciting news, Advent Journals for 2021 are here! I have to keep things fun and interesting, and I have to work with what God is inspiring me to write. So this year, there’s only one Advent Journal – Embrace Your Own Pace. For those of you who enjoy the Lectio Divina style journals, fear not. Because those are something God consistently placed on my heart to create for 3+ years, there are now 3+ years of journals to choose from. This upcoming liturgical year that begins this Advent happens to be Year C. All of the previous years’ Advent Journals can be found here.

This year’s journal is linked at the end of this post. As usual, there is no fee, no sign up requirement, no strings. This is a totally free resource to help you encounter Christ during the Advent season.

I wanted to talk a little bit about why I feel so strongly about keeping these journals free to anyone who wants to use them. And, since so much of my creative energy has been poured into knitting lately, I have another knitting story to share.

There is a thing in the knitting world. It seems pretty dominant, I’ve seen it referenced on a number of podcasts (yes, there are multiple knitting podcasts out there), YouTube channels, individual designers and frequently on Instagram. It is this idea that there are people in your life who are, “knit-worthy.” Or, perhaps more accurately, there are people in your life who are “un-knit-worthy.”

Here’s the deal. Nothing handmade is quick if it’s being done well. Knitting, done well or not, is one of those crafts that just takes time. There are those outliers who can knit a sock in 4-5 hours. But that’s just one sock, last I checked most people have 2 feet needing covering. That’s upwards of 10 hours of work for a single pair of socks. And those are the quick people. It usually takes me at least double that time. So if socks can take someone an entire day’s time to knit up, imagine how much time it takes to knit a shawl or sweater. This isn’t taking into account the cost of the yarn, which has a wide range of box store to unique one of a kind indie dyer or hand spinner. To receive a knitted gift is a big gift. It is, to use the cliche phrase, “a labor of love.”

Now, it seems that the knitting world has created some imaginary standards for who is “worthy” for such a gift. These standards, or expectations, include things like:

  • Will this person wear the gift?
  • Will they put the all wool sweater in the dryer?
  • Will they show off the garment/gift to other friends?
  • Will they praise my work and abilities?
  • Will they appreciate the amount of time and effort this gift took and treasure it always?

These are pretty high standards. Ben and I were talking about this phenomenon in the car last week while on a multi-day trek to San Antonio and back for a friend’s wedding. When we buy a gift for someone, of course we hope they will use it. We hope they will take care of it and appreciate the time we spent picking it out for them. We hope it doesn’t end up in their work White Elephant party a few days after we gift it to them. But, these are hopes, not expectations.

Interestingly, when you go on Etsy to purchase a gift that was handmade, the shop owner does not list out any type of expectations to go along with their item. They may recommend washing or care instructions, perhaps they will suggest a way to use or wear the item. Ultimately, however, they know they have no control over how the person purchasing their item will use it, gift it, or otherwise be inclined to destroy it. The transfer of funds from buyer to seller is the point. Once the item is purchased, the seller moves on and so does the buyer.

As Christmas approaches, and as we continue to hear with anxiety about “global supply chain shortages,” the theme of gift giving will be occupying a lot of space in our brains. I would like to challenge you, as I am challenging myself, to consider what the appropriate state of mind a true gift giver ought to be. In order to do this well, it would do us all a lot of good to consider what gifts we have been given, most importantly the gift par excellence – the gift of Jesus.

The gift of Jesus isn’t something we earned. We were not worthy, righteous, or even hitting the minimums. St. Paul very clearly lays it out for us:

For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

Our salvation, through the extravagance of God’s mercy and grace, isn’t conditional. It does not come to us only after we make certain promises or meet a list of expectations. It is a free and completely unmerited gift.

Stop and ponder this idea. If we are going to be giving gifts during the Christmas season, what is their purpose? What are they supposed to symbolically represent? Some would say that our tradition of gift giving comes from the Magi’s gifts. Others, the very gift of Jesus. Either way, the gifts that we are honoring were given without expectation, without reservation.

With what spirit do you usually give gifts? Are you giving from your heart? Are you giving to be noticed or appreciated? Are you giving in the hopes of getting? Are you giving out of obligation or from a spirit of generosity and love? Whether bought or made, what your recipient does with their gift isn’t really your concern. That’s hard to accept. The spirit in which you give, this is where we have the opportunity draw closer to God and to one another.

I’d love to hear about your gift-giving experiences. Have you ever found yourself more concerned about what someone will do with a gift, rather than the act of giving itself?

I am so pleased to be able to gift to you this year’s Advent Journal, Embrace Your Own Pace. As I said, this is completely free. My only request, and it’s because of copy right requirements for the Scripture references within the text, is that you please not print off a bunch of copies to pass out to all your friends or neighbors. Please direct anyone interested in this journal here, so that they can print off their own copy. But in truth, I am trying very hard not to expect anything in return for this journal. It is something God placed on my heart to create and I am gifting it back to Him as I share it with you.

Embrace Your Own Pace Advent Journal 2021

Embrace Your Own Pace is an opportunity to walk your own journey through Advent, but with a spiritual guide. It’s a bit like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from when you were a kid. There are four guides, or paths to choose from. You might find that one path matches with the pace of your life and you stay consistently on it from start to finish. Or, you may find yourself changing from one path to another as they intersect and your pacing needs to adjust. Briefly, here are the guides:

  • Joseph: Joseph’s pace is one of daily activity. Each day, there is an action to participate in that draws you closer to God and to the relationships you have. They also are designed to highlight the overall theme for the week.
  • The Magi: This path is a more intellectual path. Scripture and readings from saints and Church Fathers have been chosen for your reflection and growth. There is journaling space for the Magi’s path (though any path is welcome to use it, of course.)
  • Mary: Mary’s path is one of deeper pondering. Like the Magi, there is Scripture to reflect on, but also like Joseph’s there are some actions to consider participating in. Above all, Mary’s path is inspired by how Mary “pondered these things in her heart.”
  • The Shepherds: The Shepherd’s path is one of simplicity. Each week, there is one thing to do daily, or one prayer to say daily. These are small things, but hopefully habit building in that they will continue to gently reorient you to God in the midst of a busy schedule.

Below you will find two options to download. One is the 8.5×11 print. This will print the booklet in sequential order. If your printer has double-sided capabilities, or you are confident in printing odds and then evens to save paper, I highly encourage you to do so. The second version is the true booklet print. When you scroll through the document, the pages look all mixed up. I won’t tell you the amount of brain space booklet printing now occupies in my brain but I might have been forced to forget how to tie my shoes to account for it all. Needless to say, you have to print double-sided for the booklet to come out properly.

I wish each of you a blessed and peaceful Advent. May it be full of generosity and gift-giving that fills your heart with love for God and one another.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Free Lenten Journal for 2021

Oh man, Lent is practically here! As I promised in my last post, I’ve been scurrying around finishing up the Lenten Lectio Divina journal. For this year, as with last year as well, there is only the Lectio Divina journal, no reflection journal. This is for two main reasons.

  1. I have struggled to come up with a reflection journal idea/format that is similar to the Advent ones and also works within the whole scope of the season of Lent. I can figure out how to reflect toward the upcoming Sunday, as I did one year in Advent, or looking back to carry the previous Sunday into the week, as I did another Advent year. This works just fine until you get to Holy Week. I almost need 2 journals, one that deals with Lent, and a second that focuses on Holy Week and the Triddum. Maybe next year.
  2. Lent happens fast y’all! I still feel like we are just exiting the Christmas season. I did a great job getting started on Advent early last year (they were ready and done in October – can you imagine!?) but didn’t keep my momentum up during our transition that happened this winter. We have moved from Texas to Kansas. Moving and writing did not go hand in hand for me. With this in perspective, I’m so happy to have finished the Lectio Divina journals since I didn’t really have brain space for anything else.

Ok, to the good stuff. I did manage the booklet format that I did this past Advent. So there are the two print options. The first, per usual, is the print, staple and go. Everything is in order from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

For those of you brave souls who want to make a booklet, there’s that option too. I did not get any negative feedback about the format from Advent, so my fingers are crossed it went well for you since that is what I based this journal on. You will need to print double sided and then fold down the middle. Again, please test your printer with the first few pages before going for the whole thing unless you regularly print double sided and know your machine well.

Also listed here is the blank page that you can print as many times as you would like. This page is useful if you prefer to select your own verse for reflection. It is also especially helpful during Lent if your parish does not have any candidates or catechumens. During Lent, the 3rd-5th Sundays of Lent have a few readings options. The Scrutiny readings (which I have chosen to use for the journal) are used if the parish has candidates (people who are already baptized but need to receive their First Eucharist and/or Confirmation to complete their Sacraments of Initiation) or catechumens (persons who are seeking to receive all 3 Sacraments of Initiation) are at Mass. If they are not present, or the parish does not have any that year, the regularly cycled readings are used. You can find both options on the USCCB’s website.


These journals are completely FREE to print. However, due to the copyright restrictions, you are not supposed to print 100 copies to pass out at your parish or slid under your neighbors’ doors. You can, however, use this link in your bulletin announcements, to share with your Bible study group, post on your Facebook page, etc.

It is such an honor to write these journals. It brings me so many blessings and I hope they do for you as well. I hope you have a purposeful, peaceful and hopeful Lenten season.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com