Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent at Our House

Sorry I've been MIA from the blogging world.  It's been a busy last week and a half with my birthday, two family Thanksgivings, and getting ready for Christmas!

I thought I'd write about the traditions we're starting at my house for Advent.

Last year for my birthday, Philip bought me a beautiful Fontanini nativity set.  We'll continue to add to it through the years, but for now we have all of the major players -- Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus, the Angel Gabriel, two cows, and random bonus villager guy, Enoch.  I didn't feel right leaving Enoch in his box, so he hangs out outside of the stable.  Just know when you look at the picture that he's not a lone wise man!

This year for my birthday, Philip got me a pretty pewter Advent wreath and candles.

The Advent Wreath has verses on all four sides.

Since Janie and Walt are still so little, we wanted to start an Advent tradition that will hold their attention.  The nativity set and Advent wreath are on the buffet table where little eyes can see them but not reach them!  We turn off the lights after dinner and kneel in front of the buffet table in the dining room.  We light the Advent candle(s) and turn on the light in the nativity scene.  We sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Silent Night."  Then, Philip leads us in a spontaneous prayer.  Usually, it has something to do with what we're grateful for that day and asking for the gift of faith for our children.

Advent Wreath and Nativity Scene on the buffet table.  Baby Jesus isn't missing; He doesn't come until Christmas!
Janie loves this new tradition!  She looks at the lit Advent candle and says, "Wow!"  She's thrilled that she gets to blow out the Advent candles each night, and everyone claps for her and says, "Yay!"  We're still working on the little niceties of prayer like folding her hands, the Sign of the Cross, etc., but she's learning what it means when we say it's time to pray.  For now, we're thrilled to get two songs and a prayer in without any major meltdowns from Janie or Walt.   

Our parish gave out an Advent booklet with a Gospel reading and reflection for each day.  Philip and I read through that together before going to bed.  Hopefully we can do something like that together as a whole family in front of the nativity scene and Advent wreath when the kids are a little older.

What do you and your family do to celebrate Advent?  Do you have a nightly or weekly tradition?     

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