Preparing for Advent 2012

by Josée

The power cable for my laptop broke over the weekend. Until the new power cable arrives I am blogging from my husband’s computer. Unfortunately I’m not able to upload pictures from my camera so the pictures in this post are from my archives.

Advent is a time of preparation, quiet reflection and joy filled anticipation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. In a culture that celebrates the Christmas season earlier each year, the Church invites us to spend four weeks before Christmas preparing our hearts so that we can truly celebrate the wonderful mystery of the Word made Flesh.
For many families the weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with a frenzy of activities. Squeezing Advent into the craziness might seem impossible for some families. However, instead of squeezing it in consider making Advent a priority and postponing (if possible) certain Christmas activities until closer to Christmas day. Making Advent intentional is easier if there are certain activities to help guide the way. There are some great Advent traditions out there.

As a child I remember gathering around the Advent wreath with my family. At times we would light the Advent wreath at supper other times before bed. There is something magical about candles when you are a child.

The Jesse Tree is a type of Advent calendar. Each day families read a story from the Bible (mostly the Old Testament) and  a symbol, which corresponds with a Bible story, is hung on a tree. There a many creative way to make a Jesse Tree. Our Jesse tree is made out of felt. Jessica has printable Jesse tree colouring pages and Bible readings suggestions and Paper Dali has some printable Jesse tree ornaments.

Another tradition is assembling an Advent book basket. For each day of Advent read a Advent or Christmas themed book as a family. Jessica has an impressive Advent book basket list. She even wraps each book in advance. We have a special pile of Christmas books that we take out during Advent and I supplement it with books from our local library.

Setting up a nativity scene in which the characters (Joseph, Mary, shepherds…) slowly make their journey to the manger can help children journey through Advent. You can even add extra pieces of straw or yellow yarn to the manger when family members show kindness to one another so that baby Jesus will have a soft place to rest when he arrives on Christmas day.

Advent is known as little Lent. It should be a time for almsgiving, fasting and praying. Give a generous donation to a charitable organization, give up desserts or time in front of the television, follow a Advent devotional… these are just a few ideas.

This post is being shared at Mary’s Intentional Advent.

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crunchymama November 28, 2012 - 5:09 am

I love the idea of adding a pice of "straw" everytime someone is being kind. I have also been looking online for an Advent calendar idea, but I think I can stop looking as this Jesse tree seems to be the perfect one for our family! Thanks for sharing!

Better Than Eden November 28, 2012 - 7:50 pm

Your Jesse Tree is lovely! We're gradually making our way up to 25 books…we'll get there eventually! I do have a basket of Christmas themed books we bring out and it's always fun to read them again! Oh, and yes! Candles at dinner make it so special. We keep all the lights off except for the candles and the room gets brighter and brighter as Christmas nears. Thanks for linking up!

Dina-Marie @ Cultured Palate November 28, 2012 - 10:00 pm

Great ideas to make the advent season special!
I would love to have you share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions:

Josée November 29, 2012 - 4:11 am

Thank you Dina! I'll post it on Tasty Traditions tomorrow.


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