I did not grow up in a church that thoroughly recognized Advent. Therefore, it has taken quite awhile for me to fully understand the meaning of it. Each year since I have had children, I fall a bit deeper into the understanding of what Advent truly is and means. This year, after all of the crazy busyness of the last 3 months, Advent is a slowing down for us. It is a time to think, reflect, appreciate and wait on the coming of Christ. It is a time to breathe in and out slowly. It is a time that I so desperately need right now.
We start our days off with our Advent reading. This year, we are reading from Ann Voskamp’s new children’s book, ‘Unwrapping the Greatest Gift’ as well as Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Yreetide. We read one other Advent book from Yreetide last year and we all enjoyed it. His books are quite intense and make it difficult to just read a little bit each day. You so want to read page after page to find out what happened. You know how it is going to end up but the in-between stuff is what makes it so good. This year, I have added something new to our Advent readings. Professor Carol is offering an online advent calendar that explains all of the Christmas and advent traditions. The posts, so far, have been quite interesting.
Along with the readings we also carry out the tradition of a candy advent calendar. A few years ago I found some cardboard boxes that were designed specifically for Advent. I fill them up with tiny candies and then hang them up on the wall for our countdown. We also do a countdown with Mary and Joseph. I found this idea in a Waldorf book–we set up our nativity scene and we also place 24 paper stars in a spiral pattern leading to the nativity. Each day, Mary and Joseph are placed on a star until they are led to the place where all of the animals are waiting there arrival. On Christmas Day, baby Jesus is placed at the scene as well. My kids still love to do these traditions that we started when they were oh-so-much younger.
Advent is such a joy for this weary mama. I welcome with open arms the reflection of waiting ad slowing down.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!