The weekend of First Advent is always a bit of a whirlwind for our family, because we usually celebrate American Thanksgiving on the Friday or Saturday before and then turn around on Sunday to re-decorate for Advent. Remembering all the things we are thankful for is actually a great prelude to Advent, but I have to mentally switch gears fast to begin some of our Advent traditions. I don't stress out if I don't have everything out for the first Sunday of Advent (I never do!), but I do try to have our Advent candles and one Advent calendar ready to go.
After our Thanksgiving celebration on Friday, I ended up with a cold on Saturday and had to cancel some plans outside of the house. That turned out to be a blessing, because the children and I put together our Advent candles.
We made four Advent candles out of beeswax plates and decided to place a Christmas candle in the center, which we've never done before. It will be nice to have a special candle to light on Christmas Eve.
If you have read my blog before, you will probably recognize the Advent calendar below. My children are now 9 and 12 years old and have sadly out-grown some of their other Advent calendars, but they still treasure this one.
Each year I set it up a little differently. This time, I used my purple and white underlay (from the Godly Play story "Faces of Easter") to distinguish the journey from the arrival. The 24 stones and seashells representing each day are from a very special family vacation that we were able to enjoy earlier in the year.
The prophets point the shepherd and the sheep in the direction of Bethlehem. Usually it's the Three Kings making the journey here, but we used the shepherds this time.
Mary, Joseph and the little donkey await the baby who will appear on Christmas Eve.
Then, we copied Isaiah 9:6 into our prayer journals. (My kids really don't like to sit still unless they are doing something, so the writing keeps them engaged!)
For to us a child is born,