Our Advent Beginnings
For last two Christmases we were not living in our own home, so our opportunity to start establishing our own family traditions for the Advent season was limited. Now that we have our own home and the boys are old enough to understand what’s going on, we want to make sure that we try to keep the season as Christ-centered as possible. There’s at least one Nativity scene in every room of our house, and the schoolroom has the small tree with all the ornaments we made doing Truth in the Tinsel last year. (The boys were disappointed that we weren’t making all new ones this year, but I promised them that I have other ornament-making plans in the works!) Each day we read a section in The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel, learning about various Christmas traditions and how they point to Jesus. The kids take turns opening the doors on our wooden Advent calendar or unwrapping Christmas books (See Christmas Book Countdown). Ian and I are also reading through the parts of the Christmas story in Luke and Matthew as we start school each day, and carols are frequently playing on the iPod as we go about our day.
My favorite new tradition, however, is our Advent wreath. I’d heard about them before, but I had never had one in my home. I’m not sure what prompted me to buy one this year, but even just a few days into the season I can already tell it’s one of the best Christmas purchases I’ve ever made. Each night when we do “Bible Time” we light the appropriate candle as Eric leads us in a devotion from We Light The Candles, including a Bible passage, an explanation, a prayer, and (my favorite) a suggested carol to sing. (I’ve been very intentional about playing these specific carols during the day so they’re familiar enough for everyone to sing along in the evenings.) The boys have been caught up in the beauty of our family sitting together with only the light of the candle and our Christmas tree, reading from the Bible and singing together. Their prayers as we close are even different than usually, full of wonder and awe.
I don’t know whether we’ll use the same devotions in years to come or look for something new, but I know that our Advent wreath is here to stay. It has already made the season feel extra special this year, and we’re all looking forward to the weeks to come.
(You can read more about what we did for Advent last year in “My *plans* for Advent.”)