This page has been edited to reflect the first day of Advent 2020.
We’ll be commemorating the four Sundays of Advent in our house to prepare for Christ’s birthday. It’s not because we’re liturgical, because we are not. To be honest, I fail at regular advent stuff. Those calendars require daily attention, which I don’t possess. We’ll find ourselves several days behind in popping open those little doors, and Peck, like Tech before him, gets to eat like six pieces of candy right at bedtime.
Once, I bought a cute little guide that had a verse, prayer, and activity for each day of December. I figured, “It’s all laid out for me. I just have to follow directions.” Yeah. Didn’t get to that daily, either. I bought The Advent Storybook, which is delightful, but often had to read three or four stories to Peck at a time because we fell behind.
Stubborn describes me pretty well, so you’ll understand that it took me many, many years to realize that “everyday” and me don’t mesh. However, I still wanted to focus on the coming of Christ’s birth with Peck. I thought back to my Presbyterian upbringing and remembered the tradition of Advent.
My goal isn’t to educate on a specific denominational definition of the Advent season. The Bible does not dictate any ritual in regard to celebrating Jesus’s birth. So here’s the six5mom version.
Advent means to wait on something significant. During the four weeks preceding Christmas, we meditate not only on Christ’s coming birth, but also His return. That’s accomplished through focus on specific attributes: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
Advent begins the fourth Sunday preceding Christmas. This year that falls on December 1st. In the six5mom house, it will begin sometime that week. Our family’s busiest day is Sunday. So I know it won’t happen then! But we will observe an attribute each week, even if the specific days may vary.
Four candles, three purple and one pink, rest in a wreath often decorated with evergreens. Week one, light a purple candle representing Hope. Read related scripture and say a prayer. If you’re really with it, add a small activity to clarify the spiritual concept for your kids. The next week, light the Hope candle while you review. Then ignite another purple candle for Love. Read related scripture and say a prayer. Again, throw in a simple activity if you want. Week three, light the Hope and Love candles, and then the pink Joy candle. Repeat the scripture, prayer, activity process. The last week before Christmas, ignite the purple Peace candle after lighting the previous candles along with family reading of scripture and prayer. Some traditions add a white candle to represent Christ. Light this one on Christmas Eve or Day.
Tune back over the next several weeks to see the specific ways we’ll be observing the Advent season in the six5mom home.
If you enjoy the symbolism behind such traditions, here’s a thoughtful blog on the topic. https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/the-advent-wreath-tradition-meaning/