29 November 2009

First Week of Advent

What Advent traditions does your family keep?

During the years of raising our sons we have had a great debate each year to determine if our table would be decorated with blue or purple candles in Advent. Sometimes we have a pink candle for the third Sunday, sometimes not. In years that we ended up with blue we sometimes compromised with a light purple for the third Sunday. More importantly, our family was engaged in discussion about the liturgical color of the season, reminding us that preparation for Christmas is not simply about shopping or gift-making.

We have also had a number of different Advent Wreaths over the years. It all  began with those that were made at Advent Festivals at church; often the sort that required some help at home to keep them from falling apart with regular wear and tear of family dinners when children were home every night for supper. As the boys grew older and were home less, we didn't sit at the table for family dinners every night, and they became aware of the fragility of some of the old cardboard wreaths. Someone brought home a sturdy wooden cross candle holder from youth group one year, and we decorated it with real greens trimmed from our own trees in the yard. Once both boys were in middle school my sons purchased a traditional Danish iron candle holder with decorative greens and gave it to me for Christmas. This marked the beginning of using candles at dinner whenever our family gathers for a meal. My sons have added to the Danish ironwork candle holders over the years so that now our big country kitchen is lit by the original piece on the table and is boosted by a chandelier and wall sconces. It's a lovely and peaceful way to eat dinner that each of us treasures.

It all started by keeping Advent at home and not simply on Sundays at church.

My prayer for you is that your family can find a way to keep Advent holy and full of anticipation and preparation to receive the Christ into the world in this miraculous season.

For your personal use I commend the Following the Star online devotions series we co-author and sponsor as an ecumenical effort (http://www.d365.org/) in youth ministry. Passport Inc. administers and edits this holy offering. This year Following the Star draws its theme from Psalm 46: “Be Still and Know That I Am God.” As Advent begins, the writer, Tracy Hartman, helps us to quiet our souls as we turn toward God.

To journey with us, click here (or paste this link into your web browser): http://www.followingthestar.org/.

Bulletin inserts and images are available for you to promote Following the Star with your congregation or on your websites, blogs and social networks. Thank you for sharing this wonderful, free resource with others: www.d365.org/share.

Blessings in Advent!

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