I have so enjoyed reading all the bloggers gushing about their favorite Advent traditions through Micaela from California to Korea (and back again)'s link up. Especially awesome is Micaela's original post about Kairos. So beautiful. Couldn't resist adding my own...
The Gospel - It's not called The Greatest Story Ever Told for nothin'. It is our own family tradition to read a full Gospel over the course of both Advent and Lent. I know there are plenty of other prayers and set readings that are great for enriching the Advent experience, but years ago I felt the children (and I) would greatly benefit from reading the Gospels in their entirety in a short period of time, and thus began our tradition. I cannot tell you how much this has meant to me, reading the Gospels always helps my relationship with Christ Himself like nothing else I have experienced. And reading them aloud to my children, constantly brimming with questions, always forces me to look at my faith more deeply and search for answers to questions I before had never pondered. I pray at this time that they too, my little ones, will come to know the heart of Christ, will come to understand that is in fact the heart of all it is that we are here for, why we do what we do. Unless they themselves fall completely in love with the person of Christ, all of the lessons and posturing and ideals we labor to instill in them will dry up in their souls like the seed planted in rocky soil. I feel like this reading of the Gospels in preparation for Christmas opens the window for them to encounter the person the Christ, and know who this Baby is in swaddling clothes, plastic and smiling beneath the Christmas tree.
This Advent we are reading Matthew, consisting of 28 chapters. Most chapters can be read in a matter of minutes, and we generally read two a night during our prayer time, and of course, some nights none at all. So it works out.
Advent Wreath - The Church in her great wisdom recognizes that being made in God's image means we long for beauty in our daily lives, our physical selves encounter God's Spirit through concrete realities and we recognize that yes, we have senses, yes, they are good and holy. The Advent wreath embodies this for me. We put our Advent wreath on the dining room table and light the appropriate candles with special prayers every evening. We let them burn throughout the whole meal, adding a wonderfully special level of formality to our regular beastly carnage.
Countdown to Christmas Advent calendars with daily candy - What? You don't like fun? Lighten up, enjoy the anticipation!
This year I attached bags with six candies to our lovely Target felt decor because I was tired of the hardships that came with taking daily turns: The little ones suffer from chronic whine syndrome and the big ones have acute cases of stealing turns from those who can't keep track. Both deadly in large families. This year, six candies per day.
If only Isaac understood that we aren't eating the entire display this evening.