Here it is. The last Sunday in advent. Isn’t that crazy? It feels as though this autumn has just flown by, and now it’s the first day of winter, just days before Christmas and soon the light will be returning and a new year beginning. This season is full, as it always is, but there has been a lightness in this years darkest days this year. Maybe it’s the supplements I am taking. Maybe it’s the fact that I am really learning how to not be so mean to myself about missing traditions or going on rabbit trails for a week because we are enjoying a craft we are doing. Either way, we have really enjoyed this season, even with its chaos and bustle.
For the past few years we have had an advent wreath, just like we had at my Lutheran church when I was little. Each year I get three purple candles, one pink candle and one white pillar candle. This year, inspired by this post, I added a few other things to our advent wreath traditions. I made up cards for each Sunday printed on cardstock and added them to my wreath so I didn’t stumble over looking up each verse when my kids were waiting. I also gathered all the items I would need to put on the wreath this season into a bag that was in my junk drawer. Once again, I was just trying to streamline this process so it would be as smooth as possible after Church each Sunday.
I set up the advent wreath Thanksgiving weekend. It went up before any other Christmas décor and in fact! Our fall decorations were still on the table as I took this picture:
The first week, we added shells, crystals, and a stone to our wreath for the Light of Stones.
The first light of Advent is the light of stones. The light that shines in seashells, in crystals, and our bones.
Once it was set up, it was easy to maintain:
Second week of advent we added pressed leaves for the Light of Plants.
The second light of Advent is the Light of Plants. Plants that reach up to the sun, and in the breezes dance.
We added some of our chickens feathers for the third week in advent.
The third week of Advent, it is the Light of Beasts. The light of faith that we may see the greatest I the least.
We added a roving angel for the fourth week in advent.
The fourth Light of Advent; it is the Light of Humankind. The Light of Hope, of thoughts and dreams. The Light of hands, heart, and mind.
I did it a tiny bit different than any of my other traditions, this time we lit the Christ candle every week.
It is so easy this time of year to shift our focus from the light that Jesus was in the world to something more earthly. I wanted to always have that light shining. So every week, for the few hours these other candles were burning, that center candle stood bright and happy. A great reminder of the His greatest love for us.
One last note about all family traditions… Traditions are lovely, but sometimes they do not work the way you want them to. These beautiful family moments, especially with toddlers or young children, have to have room for climbing on tables and jumping off chairs and fights over who is going to blow out the candle when we are done with lunch. They must continue, even though there may be holiday decorations on the floor, or it’s technically Monday, or you only have 2 of the kids home out of 4.
And the glory of traditions is that kids don’t notice! They do not care if you had that weeks advent lighting a day late because you were sick, or if the breakfast dishes are not put away, or if you have to keep stealing the gloves back from the dog while reading the card. Any of that they remember, they will remember with laughter and it will add to the charm of the tradition, not deter from it. Tradition is like a budget… if there is no wiggle room, there is almost no chance of success.