Advent’s “Advent”

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So, we’re all getting ready for Advent over here…. Well, ok, I’m getting ready for Advent. But I wanted to just put down a few thoughts first.

First Exposure

My first experience with Advent came while I was about 10 or 12 years old and my dad was a pastor at the Vineyard. Every year we always had an Advent wreath at the church; set up in front with liturgically correct colors and everything. I don’t recall much else about it. I don’t think we did special prayers, we just had the candles lit in consecutive weeks leading up to Christmas.

Once that church closed down, my family inherited the Advent Wreath and we continued to use that at home every Advent. Our “new” church was much more liturgical and celebrated the seasons of the Church. (For more on that story click over to our Conversion Story Pt 1). So, while we celebrated it at church, we still didn’t do much at home other than light the Advent Wreath.

Looking back at my early experience with Advent, I can really see where, while the church celebrations were there, it didn’t have much of an impact on me. And I KNOW that’s because there wasn’t a whole lot of intentional observing of it in the home. Now, having children of my own, I can see the importance of celebrating seasons and Holy Days in the home.

Thoughts now

Advent to me is a special time of year. This season has always been one of my favorites, although I usually incorrectly referred to it as Christmas.

 Advent is a season observed… as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

Advent is not the time for the feasting and partying that should be reserved for Christmas time. Although much of the time that is how it’s thought of. Yes, there are a few Feast days during Advent, and the mood of Advent definitely lightens as we get closer to Christmas. But it is a time of preparing our hearts for the birth of Jesus. For me, I feel that it’s much better to take a quiet, reflective, prayerful attitude during Advent than one jammed to the top with parties, shopping, and loud raunchy, secular “Christmas music” {sorry, pet peeve moment there… I personally can’t stand most of the secular Christmas music…}.

Having traditions can be a stepping stone towards that quiet attitude and are not necessarily wrong to do, trying to do too many of them (at least all at once) can feel like just that: Too Much. So if we’re filling every waking moment with “doing” something, we’re more than likely missing out on some of that quiet reflection.

Last year was the first year we intentionally tried to observe Advent, with activities, etc… It sort of happened how I planned it in my mind.

This year, I’m attempting to get ready for (the traditions of) Advent BEFORE it actually starts… as opposed to one+ weeks into it like I did last year, hence the “sort of”.

It’s pretty low key. We don’t have tons of “traditions” in place, (mostly because I didn’t grow up with many, so they’re most still “new” to me) and while many times when I see something else we could do, I want to jump on the band wagon, but traditions take time to establish. And currently we have young kids with pretty small attention spans, so trying to introduce too much too fast never goes over so well as I would like and usually ends up being more frustrating.

Currently, I’m putting the finishing pieces together of our Jesse Tree. I’ve got the candle’s for the wreath in the house already (a huge leap over last year when it was after the beginning of Advent before I even got the Wreath out). I know where the Nativity Set is. I’ve listed out what people will be receiving as Christmas Gifts (not all done/purchased yet, but listing is half the process). I think I’m almost done with the Christmas Card/Photo. So preparations are in full swing, but I’m hoping to have a good portion of them done before Advent actually begins. I love knowing what’s happening when.

I’d like to share some more thoughts on the activities we are doing, but I don’t want to make this post super long. In the next few days I’ll get to that.

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