Oh, how I love Advent! I always have. When I was a little girl, I felt immediate excitement when we walked into the church to find the Advent wreath standing next to the Communion Table to start the season. The shiny, brass stand and candleholders caught the glow of the santuary lights, but the candles were still dark, waiting for the counting to Christmas to begin. Even if I understood very little of the theological meaning of Advent at the time, I knew that the candles meant Christmas and anticipation and joy. The congregation joined together in song as one family climbed the steps to the wreath, bearing a tiny flame on the end of a long, elegant brass candlelighter*. A member of the family read a short litany while the others lit the candle. Sometimes the family was mine. Sometimes it was a family that I knew.
Advent is a wonderful way to bring the tangible practice of our faith from the church to our home. It is a chance to tell the beautiful story of Christ’s birth again and again. Advent presents the opportunity to make the story visual and tactile. With four weeks to deliberately revisit the details and themes of the coming child, repetition becomes a powerful teaching tool.
This year, in addition to the Advent wreath, we are going through Truth in the Tinsel. It’s a delightful e-book with short, simple devotions and an ornament craft for each day–December 1 through Christmas. We are working through the materials at home, and on Tuesday mornings, we are gathering with our homeschool co-op to do that day’s ornament and reading. I usually get off track on similar one-per-day activities, but so far, we are keeping up fairly well. We’ve only had to double up twice. I highly recommend this book. I can see how it would be easy to adapt for various age groups, and I think it’s perfect for the ages of my boys, 4 and 7.
Sunday marked the start of the second week of Advent, so our wreath is now aglow with two bright lights. I am grateful for less squabbling over who gets to light the candle each night. How appropriate that the second candle is the Candle of Peace! 😀
*In case you’re wondering, that “thingy” that people use to light candles in church is actually called a candlelighter. I looked it up.