Intro to Advent

DIY Advent wreath title 2Image Credit: House for Five

Advent is the first season of a new church year. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.

Quite frankly, I’ve only ever associated the word “advent” with Christmas countdown calendars (usually the cardboard ones with little doors revealing chocolate). This form of counting is a great way to build anticipation for Christmas, and you can bet my kids will be savoring their shared Advent calendar.

But for Christians, this is a time to prepare for the birth of Jesus, to reflect and acknowledge our gift of salvation through Him.

One of the most traditional ways to celebrate this season is with an Advent wreath. Here’s the ELCA Lutheran PDF file on Advent wreaths, which covers all the symbolism–including the rationale behind a recent widespread switch to royal blue candles. (Short version: this symbolizes hope, longing, and royalty.) This website explains the more traditional color scheme of pink and purple and includes a detailed description of how to light the candles.

At a minimum, I’ll be creating and using an Advent wreath with my children. As an intro, we’ll watch the Whirl kids celebrate. We’ll also memorize this (very) simple song to learn what all the different candles mean.

I’m also intrigued by LecFamily’s Photo-A-Day Challenge and family devotional activities. I want to see how much of this I can incorporate while feeling joyful, rather than burdened, by the prospect!

How do you celebrate Advent? Do you have any great resources to share? 



This Blog’s Purpose

church year lutheran

Image credit: Internet Monk

I suppose it’s only fitting for a faith-based blog to begin with a confession. Here’s mine: I’m a wee bit jealous of my Catholic and Mormon gal pals. They’ve got so many fabulous resources for raising children within their respective religious denominations. Bonus: many of them have also been raised within their faith tradition.

That’s not me. As a child I attended Lutheran services, but my family moved cities and never really found another congregation. For me, this marked a long phase of spiritual searching that ended about a year ago with a return to the ELCA Lutheran church.

So, yeah. I left the church around age 8 and returned at age 34. The majority of my life (getting my formal education, embarking on a teaching career, marrying my husband, birthing and beginning to raise our two children) has happened outside of the Lutheran faith. Not surprisingly, I am sometimes puzzled by my own church’s traditions. (“Why is everyone wearing red? Oh, Reformation Sunday… that’s nice. Um, what is that, exactly?”)

On this blog, I plan to record my research regarding the Lutheran liturgy… as well as how I plan to share that liturgy with my family in a concrete, kid-friendly way. Currently, my children are ages 4 and 1. I’ll be focusing on preschool faith formation, but also hope to look ahead.

This blog is part of two separate goals. On the personal front, I hope it will help me evolve as both a person and a parent. And for my family, this is the spiritual side of our larger quest to live (and eat!) more seasonally. Ultimately, I want to create space, time, and ways for us to enjoy ourselves and each other with intention and gratitude.

Readers, can we serve as resources for each other? I would love to learn from people with other backgrounds and/or beliefs!