Friday, November 26, 2010

Preparing Your House for Advent

Every year, it sneaks up on me, this starting to remember the Christ child while the calendar still oozes autumn with its burnt oranges and golden yellows.

Perhaps, like me, you'll be surprised to learn that two days from now, Sunday, November 28 starts Advent, the countdown to Christmas.

And perhaps you'll be even more surprised to learn I'm (gasp) prepared!!!

If your family doesn't celebrate Advent, author Ann Marie Stewart's Preparing My Heart for Advent is an awesome book with short daily readings to guide you through the season. The main point of Advent is to keep your focus on the coming of Christ, to truly remember the reason for the season.

Although everyone celebrates Advent a little differently, it is common to have an Advent wreath where you light a candle each Lord's day until Christmas.

A few weeks ago, somehow, in God's sovereignty, He saw fit to have the mail carrier mis-deliver to our home a neighbor's copy of the children's magazine Highlights. When Wyatt saw it in the "back in the mailbox" pile, he pestered me until I read it from cover to cover before returning it to its rightful owner.

In the midst of non-memorable stories was a cute, easy Christmas project for children to make their own Advent wreath. I thought it was a great idea for those of any age who aren't quite mature enough to be trusted with matches, lighters, or anything else they could possibly use to burn down a house.
After tracing Wyatt's favorite leaf collected on one of our nature walks, he cut our four leaves...I cut out the other 40 something. Definitely not equal division of labor in this household.

I was going to wait to "light" the candles with yellow tissue paper until Advent started, but his almost-four-year-old mentality insisted the project wasn't complete until it looked like the picture. I'm still not sure how it's going to go over on Sunday when they're all "unlit" save one.

Although Wyatt's Advent wreath is a new addition to our dinner table, this is a tradition I've had in my family since childhood. I vividly remember my mother having the pink and purple candles lit on the Sunday dinner table.

Last year, she gave me a precious gift, the Advent wreath she carefully painted many years ago.
One year, I'll light those candles just as she did for her children.

For now, though, I'm content to stuff yellow tissue paper into the top of a toilet paper roll as I remind my children of Jesus' birth, of the true meaning of Christmas.

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