Some of us may have heard our pastor exclaim, “Happy New Year!” at the end of November, and wonder, “Did we miss something?!” The holidays may go by in the blink of an eye, but not quite that fast.

With his explanation, the priest reminds us that Catholics celebrate the start of a New Liturgical Year on the First Sunday of Advent, the four-week season leading up to Christmas Day; it’s a time of preparation and waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Just as we normally make our lists of New Year Resolutions to get into the mindset of changing our goals and habits for the coming year, I think it is important for families to create their New Liturgical Year Resolutions to refocus on living out faith as a family.

As Catholics who are living in a world surrounded by busy schedules and the sometimes difficult challenges of life, we struggle with finding the time to sit down and think about how we can deepen our relationship with our faith.

What small or big things can we adjust in our everyday lives that could bring us closer to God? This Advent, I encourage you to take a moment to come up with a list of at least three things you can do to reignite faith in your household.

Here are some examples of how you can invite Christ into your home this new liturgical year:

1. Pray. This is the first, and most important, habit I urge you to add to your list. You can incorporate traditional prayers into your routine if that’s the easy place for you to begin prayer. Commit to saying the Mealtime Prayer when you sit down for dinner together. Have your kids make up prayers for before meals or bedtime if that will help get them involved. I think back to when I was younger and all my siblings and I really struggled with the Mealtime Prayer – so we prayed a new one: “God is good, God is great, and we thank Him for our food. Amen.” Simple. Now all of us are well into our twenties and we still like our version better.

2. Incorporate faith-focused music. If praying as a group is difficult at first, incorporating music in the car or while you’re cooking might be a good place to start. Many popular artists have a distinctly Christian/Catholic tone in their music – we just need to take the time to listen and use the lyrics prayerfully. Commit to playing secular and Catholic Christmas music while baking this season. Check out artists like Carrie Underwood, Chris Tomlin, Lauren Daigle, and Elevation Worship.

3. Attend Mass as a family. The Church is open and waiting to greet you at the front door. Do your best to attend Mass as regularly as you can. If you need to start with once a month – do it. Work yourself up to going each week. Commit to getting your family into a routine on Sunday mornings and make it a fun experience for your kids. Mass shouldn’t feel like a chore for parents or for your children, so do what you can to make it a family outing they’ll enjoy.

4. Get involved. There are tons of ways for your entire family to get involved in your parish community and to serve the local community. Look into ministries in which every member of your gang can be involved: altar serving, Children’s Liturgy, choir, men’s and women’s groups, Bible study, Mass readers and so much more. Check your parish bulletin and see what’s being offered. Commit to joining a ministry or small group this year.

We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the everyday carpooling, email chains and updating social media, that our connection to the Church community is put on the back burner. That’s okay sometimes. Just like when we struggle to keep up with our New Year Resolutions or we slack on one of the goals we set for ourselves, we don’t give up on them completely.

Setting goals for the New Liturgical Year is the first step in the right direction; it’s the first step to bettering your family’s relationship with God. By planning, trying your best to stick by that plan, and knowing that no one is perfect, you can begin to feel more connected to Christ in 2023.

Lisa Ann Limongello serves as parish catechetical leader for The Catholic Community of Hopewell Valley.