Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Advent


Coming from a Presbyterian background, we didn't know about celebrations of Advent when I was very young. My father started us lighting an advent wreath and doing family devotions around the theme of waiting for the Christ child when I was in my early teens. It quickly became a family tradition, and I think I got an Advent candle holder before I ever got a tree of my own as an adult. One of the most coveted jobs for us as children was lighting and putting out the Advent candles at dinner time in December. As Episcopalians now, Advent is a major part of our Christmas celebration. The four weeks leading up to December 25 are filled with prayers, songs and stories from the Old Testiment of the Bible looking forward to the coming of the Christ. We light one candle every night for the first week, two candles the second week, then three and finally all four the week before Christmas.

This year we are doing a new devotional booklet we picked up at church. It is from Creative Communications. There is a poster of Bethlehem we put up on the fridge and every night Buddy Boy gets to add a sticker that has something to do with the story. It also comes with a little book of prayers for each day. What a great way to count down the days to Christmas!

We also got another booklet from church for our family dinner devotions. It's called A Revealing Light, by Mark Neilsen. The family on the cover is multicultural, which attracts me right away. Every day there is a prayer for a child to read or recite, a short scripture to be read and a few paragraphs for reflection and sharing. We light a candle in our advent wreath and read and talk about it. I really love this time of the year when we have rituals to make time for contemplation and discussion of the things that matter the most. I love that there are materials available that are designed for young children to fully participate. What do you do in your family traditions to celebrate this month?

Online Advent Calendars:
Christmas Around the World
History of Advent Calendars
Daily Bible verses
wikipedia
Kid's activities (not religious): crafts, games, recipes
Daily Music from the German Embassy

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