Photo Credit: Dan Froese Photography
Several years ago as we were beginning our little family, how we would celebrate Christmas was part of many discussions. We wanted to establish traditions that celebrated the coming of the Messiah and the gift of his birth. At the same time, we longed for something deeper and more meaningful than the stress, overspending, and self-focus that so easily comes with the Christmas season.
Our desire to establish our celebration of Christmas as a response of worship led us to the practice of Advent.
At that point, my only familiarity with Advent was that of advent readings and candle lighting each Sunday morning during the month of December.
We chose to bring Advent home to incorporate the season of hopeful anticipation in the weeks prior to Christmas, or 'Christ Come'.
Seven years ago, we had no idea just how meaningful and central to Christmas the weeks of Advent would become to us, not only as a marker of the birth of Christ but also a hope filled celebration of our, indeed creation’s, reconciliation to Christ on his return .
I have always loved Christmas with its bright traditions, gift giving, and time spent with family, but I’ve found that the practice of Advent is something I greatly anticipate as a time to focus and open my heart to the mystery and love of Immanuel, God with Us.
As we’ve tweaked and changed and enjoyed developing how we do Advent, I’ve realized that it’s very possible for it to be very simple while still being incredibly meaningful for both adult and child alike. I’ve realized that it is possible for the deeply spiritual practice of worship and contemplation to be a source of childish delight. While there is an aspect of the Advent season that includes that awareness that "whole creation has been groaning" as we wait for the glory that is to come, I think that is also a vital part for our children to see in a life of following Christ.
Intrigued but not sure how to start doing Advent with your family? Some simple suggestions:
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