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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Celebrating Advent


Why do we celebrate Advent?
Advent is the four weeks prior to Christmas that is often not given much attention in our race from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Black Friday to Cyber Monday to the big gift giving/receiving day otherwise known as Christmas.
Advent is  a time of preparation of waiting. One of my favorite readings is that of the women staying up to wait for the bridegroom. Christ is that Bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1)We are waiting for him to come. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin words, ad-venio or adventus, which both signify a coming. We are remembering Christ’s coming when he was born as a baby in a manger, and preparing ourselves for his second coming.
For four weeks we prepare ourselves, our hearts and homes for Christ to arrive. Advent while a time of joy is also a time of repentance. We know and understand that we are not perfect and most try to be ready for Christ to come, lest we are one the ones without enough oil and falling asleep.
How Can we Celebrate Advent?
Celebrating Advent helps make the Christmas Season more relevant and with kids it is actually quite fun to do.
  • Make an advent wreath and use it with your family. This year my sweet son (7) made our wreath. Other years I use fresh greens from the yard. Light the candles in your wreath at dinner . Read the the advent prayers each night as you light the candles at dinner, or you may choose to only light the candles on Sunday, as we do.
  • Use an Advent Calendar. We have two, one with candies one without.  Advent calendars can be found for very little, a couple of dollars or upwards of $25.  They can be made of paper or wood or cloth. Some have candies others have drawers to put little gifts, or scripture sayings in.
  • Have a Jesse Tree- this custom represents the family tree of Jesus Christ. Each day of Advent an ornament, usually homemade is added to the the Jesse Tree. The tree is typically made from Evergreen Branches but I have seen them made from tree branches. The ornaments represent a prophesy or the ancestors of Christ.
  • Have a Sock and Mitten Tree – organize a collection for the Homeless. Advent is typically a time for almsgiving.
  • Read the birth story of Jesus with your Children.

Do you celebrate Advent ? What is your favorite way to Celebrate Advent?


Jo's Health Corner/ said...

Almost everyone celebrate advent in Sweden, sadly, most don't do it for the real reason. Swedes are strong on traditions. We have a candle holder with 4 candles and light a new one every Sunday. They candle holders used to be rectangles only when I grew up, but now you can find them in many other shapes. We decorate the candle holders with moss, mushrooms (fake red with white dots)..The moss is real though..

First of advent is also the day when Swedes go to town to dance around the Christmas tree and to look at all the Christmas decorations.

It is also the day people gather friends and/or family and eat rice porridge which is a very old tradition. The whole town comes to life on first of advents, you see Christmas fairs and many homemade things to buy..

Swedes are not very religious people but there are still people who make a special visit to Church on first of advent..

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Advent for me is definitely my favorite season, I enjoy slowing down a little bit when everyone is rushing around.

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