Sunday, December 2, 2018

On This First Sunday of Advent (some of our traditions)

Our family has really been needing the discipline and prayer that Advent brings.  After a period of sickness plus some other things that have come our way recently we ended up in a rut here at home.  Too little prayer, too many screens, too many outside all adds up to burn out and disconnectedness.  The beautiful thing for our family (obviously not just our family, all you have to do is look at any number of blogs to know that we are far from doing as much as many others do) is we have slowly added traditions throughout the years and now our children really look forward to these things as well.  Here are a few of the things we will be doing to focus our attention on the birth of Christ.


We have slowly added to our collection of Advent and Christmas books throughout the years.  Our children always get books for the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6th) and I tend to collect them through the year as I find them used or on sale.  We read one picture book a night, and this year I've upped our game with wrapping the ones we'll read during Advent and using Jessica's labels.  We are also reading Jotham's Journey during Morning Time.


We considered hanging our Advent wreath this year from the ceiling as is traditional, but decided we like it on the table better.  We light one candle for each of the four weeks of Advent during dinner time.  We use an opening prayer and sing the first verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel until the O Antiphons start on December 17th.  We then sing the appropriate verse.  After dinner we pray the St. Andrews Christmas Novena.


We have several Nativities throughout the house (actually I missed taking pictures of two others).  Our main Nativity is on our hutch by the dining table.  This is not one the children touch, other than the older ones helping to place figures when appropriate.

We also have the Playmobil Nativity set that has already been gotten into set up.

And then there is the peg doll set that I painted a few years ago.  All the pieces are out for both of these as little hands like to play out the sacred story.

~Jesse Tree~

Several years ago we participated in a Jesse Tree swap.  And then I found a little tree that a homeschool boy had made and was selling at a local craft sale.  So I used the calendar that I had made (before we had the one my husbands family's handed down to us) for little slips of paper with the appropriate ornament and bible readings.  We also did an O Antiphon swap so I've included those as well.

~Other Traditions~

I have a Christmas House tree stand that was from my mom's family that I am hoping I can find time to refinish this year.  We'll see if I'm able to find the time.  We always work on handicrafts this time of year and try to handmake many of our gifts.  I'm currently crocheting two projects (a small one and a big one) and have several more in mind.  Each of the kids are working on projects for each other, and are making other plans.

Using the link from Leila, we are listening to and learning more traditional Advent hymns this year, but for practice for showcasing talents at Christmastime, they are also working on Christmas hymns on their instruments.  Practice makes perfect!  One child in particular has really been working hard to show off her piano work, even if it's just to mom and dad.

Normally we take this time off from school, since we already have so many other things going on (all of which include learning!) but because we took time off while I was sick we must keep plugging away at our work as well.  Again, discipline.

Advent is a penitential season (which is why the vestments are violet!) and so we have decided to give up complaining this season in favor of gratitude.  And the children are not the only ones who need this penance!

On this note, we set up a small manger under the tree (I'm currently in the process of getting a big boy to make me a new one, thus no pictures yet) and as the children (or even mom and dad) make sacrifices they put in a piece of yarn straw to make the bed as soft as possible for the baby Jesus.

There are other, smaller things we do during Advent (baking, volunteering, etc.) that I haven't talked about, but here on this First Sunday of Advent we've got a good start.  What are some of your family traditions during the Advent Season?

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