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A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Keeping Advent

November 14th, 2014 by Aubri

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*Sorry about the spacing on this post, I couldn’t fix it! I’m sure I’m the only one that gets annoyed by post spacing….

Advent is quickly approaching! As I begin to plan what our family will be doing I thought I’d share what we have done in the past, activities which are becoming our traditions.

I’m one of those people who really want to start pumping out the Christmas carols as soon as Halloween is over. To be honest, I’m also tempted to blast them in June. So holding off on Christmas while it’s still Advent is very hard for me but every year I make it a goal of mine to wait. I find that waiting is hard but fitting.

We are reminded in Advent of how we are waiting for Christ’s return. We are waiting through Advent to celebrate our Savior’s birth on Christmas Day. And isn’t the Feast always much more rewarding after a Fast? My putting off Christmas until the actual season is a kind of fast for me.
Putting off the Christmas celebration is made even more difficult once my family and I step out of the door. Our school has its Christmas program in early December, my children bring home their Christmas crafts from school throughout Advent and of course every house around us is completely decked out in Christmas finery.
So how do we “keep Advent” in our family?

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By teaching, by waiting and though we can’t control what happens outside our home, we simply try to fast from the festivities within the walls of our home.
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We teach our children about Advent, explaining to them that it isn’t Christmas yet and pointing them to why the Church instituted this particular season of waiting for Christ’s coming.
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We use an Advent wreath with our evening meal. Each child takes a turn lighting the appropriate candles before the meal begins and we sing a verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel. After our meal we have a family devotion using a Jesse Tree and a spiral wreath marking our way through Advent. This allows the children to see how close we are getting to Christmas.
During Advent the Church also remembers certain saints. Our family has a lot of fun celebrating these days, St. Nicholas (Dec. 6) and St. Lucy (Dec. 13).
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We also use an Advent Calendar that they can open each morning for a small treat. I will add a few seasonal decorations to our home slowly throughout the season. I put out Nativity sets without baby Jesus and we listen to all the wonderful Advent hymns we have in the church.
I want to add, I wasn’t married until I turned 30 so I celebrated several Advent seasons before I had a family of my own. I actually did pretty much all of the same things. It seemed silly I’ll admit, but I did use an Advent wreath just for myself! I loved it. I attended Advent services, waited on the Christmas carols as long as I could and used an Advent devotional book during those weeks.
But it is good to remember that with all of these things we are free to enjoy the Seasons of the Church in any way we choose and to “break the rules” if we like. These seasons are wonderful for instructing our children and ourselves in the Faith, but we are free from the Law and from making these observances burdens.
I really like the ideas that Katy has come up with for her family and would love to hear what some of you do! For more ideas check out the Advent link-up party at Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife.
A very blessed upcoming Advent to you all!

7 Responses to “Keeping Advent”

  1. Anna M says:

    I’m in the planning stage of making Jesse tree ornaments. I like the fact that your “tree” has hooks, since I bet that lets the kids count how many days are left until Christmas.

    Also, you look so young! I would not have guessed that you are seven kids past thirty. :-)

  2. Katy says:

    Thanks for mentioning all the little commemorations and feasts in Advent, like St. Nicholas’s and St. Lucy’s days that give us little “previews” of Christmas. That, too, makes Advent special.

    Also, you have the BEST homemade decorations!

  3. Wonderful ways of celebrating Aubri!

    I love Advent and it’s always frustrating to me how we as a society start “Christmas” in November (or October!) and end it on December 25! Isn’t it funny how we continue what we did in our birth families with our own families?

    We use an advent wreath and calendar – those come out right away on the first Sunday in Advent. We add a few decorations during the season – nativity without Jesus on the 2nd Sunday with a few other things, the greens and the tree go up on the 3rd Sunday and the decorations are added on the 4th. Jesus joins the nativity on Christmas Day. A few years ago my husband wanted to add a Jesse Tree so we added that – the children take turns reading and I found paper ornaments that we print and they color. A friend gave us a table-top pre-lit tree so we use that for the tree.

    The wise men come out on Epiphany when the tree and the decorations come down. And then the nativity and the advent wreath get put away at the end of Epiphany.
    I had a friend mention that they start the wise men in the far corner of house from the nativity at the beginning of Advent and march them through the house until Epiphany when they finally reach the nativity. I might have to do that this year!

    Thanks for sharing Aubri!
    Lea

  4. rebekah says:

    Great ideas. I am getting excited for advent now. One of the best times of year.

  5. Aubri says:

    Ha Anna! I get that one a lot! :)

    Katy, thank you! My MIL made those for me. I can’t find the link to the ones I used as a template, but there are tons out there.

    Thanks for sharing your traditions Lea! I like what you do with the Wisemen though, we bring ours out on Christmas day and they march around the house too, the babies like looking for them wherever I happen to put them next. :)

    Rebekah, I’m so excited about Advent too!

  6. Leah says:

    I like your Advent calendar. I’ve been looking a long time for one. What I’ve found is either cardboard, or sacrilegious. Our Jesse tree came about as a result of the search for the Advent calendar. We’ve enjoyed using it.

  7. Aubri says:

    Leah I had such a hard time finding an Advent calendar I liked too. My FIL offered to get us one and I could resist the one I finally found. If you’re interested we found it here:

    http://www.yonderstar.com/traditions.html