As I was growing up Christmas always held a special sort of magic. The month of December was filled with love, family, food and travel and, as wonderful as it was, I always felt that something was missing. As I got older I would awaken on Christmas morning and suddenly realize that I had not made Christ the central part of my celebrating; my God and the entire reason for celebrating had been an afterthought. I had no traditions set in place to remember, thank and honor The Light of the World.
Once Josh and I were married and established in our own home, we began discussing Christmas traditions: our own growing up and the possibility of making new ones. We started weaving the tapestries of our lives together in this way and quickly realized that we wanted more out of the Christmas season, for us and our future children. We wanted to remember and celebrate, we wanted tradition and hope. More specifically, we wanted Advent.
Webster’s dictionary defines Advent as:
1: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting
2 a: the coming of Christ at the Incarnation
b : second coming
Advent is a time to not only remember Christ’s first coming, but to joyfully and expectantly look forward to His return.
Christians all over the world celebrate Advent in a variety of ways, through fasting, feasting, prayer, with the lighting of candles, by attending special church services, and celebrating in their own homes. I’d like invite you into our home this Christmas season to join us in the way our little family has decided to celebrate. This is the second year we have observed Advent in our home and I’m sure that as the years go by our celebrations will change and grow along with our family. But I plan to keep one thing the same, that our eyes, hearts and minds would be fixed on our savior during this beautiful season of remembrance and expectation.
First, I made an Advent calendar out of cardboard, fancy scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby, clothes pins, and string. On each card I wrote out a scripture, song, prayer or quote that fit into one of three categories: Christ’s first coming, Christ’s second coming, and Christ as the light of the world. I hung the cards on the string and each evening we would have our special Advent reading.
I also really love the tradition of lighting candles for Advent. In some church traditions 4 candles are lit during the 4 Sundays of Advent. Each candle represents one of the following: expectation, hope, joy and purity. I wanted to incorporate this somehow into our own tradition so Josh went out to our woodpile and made us this beautiful candleholder.
Each night of December we will light an Advent candle, select a reading from our calendar, discuss what it stirs up inside of us and pray. Our hope is that this season brings us closer to our savior and helps us keep our gaze fixed on Him. We also hope you will join us in this celebration.
If you and/ or your family celebrates Advent please tell me how! We would love to have new ideas especially as our kiddos grow.