This year we're trying out a new family tradition. Tomorrow the kids will start opening daily Advent envelopes, which we filled with little treasures: a note, a sticker, candy or a piece of a puzzle. (They will be able to complete the puzzle by month's end.) My kids will no doubt be dissappointed by the "treasure" (Why isn't it a bey blade?!! More candy!!!"), but my hope is that the daily ritual of counting down will help them measure the time til the Big Day.
Sunday we will have our first Advent Celebration. Traditionally, each Sunday in December is marked by special readings and prayers. Each Sunday another of 4 candles is lit. We will be doing this Unitarian style... (What's a Unitarian?! click here for info). Meaning, our readings and prayers come from the Bible as well as other sources.
This Sunday we will talk about Light. How in this season of growing darkness we like to create lights around us, and how one of the teachings of Jesus was to be a light in the world. The kids will each get a little light for their rooms.
I especially like the reading by Maureen Killoran "Come Christmas!" I need her reminder not to strive for perfection. My tendency to make lists gets a little out of control this time of year. :)
Below is the complete text of our first Advent celebration. I'll let you know how it goes! Fingers crossed the kids stay at the table willingly, no one burns their fingers in the candles, and we go to bed Sunday night with a little more grace than we had the day before.
Do you have an Advent celebration?
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Ye are the light of the world... Let your light so shine
Our lighted candle is glowing, making the darkness bright; shining on our family gathered here tonight.
by M. Maureen Killoran
No one is ever really ready for Christmas.
If we were really all prepared:
If every gift we had contemplated had been obtained;
If every present was beautifully beribboned;
If all the goodies our friends deserve were baked and cooled, and stored just so;
If each and every person we love was gathered for our celebration;
If we never snapped at someone we care about, nor stopped short of being all that we could be;
If our minds were 100 per cent loving and our hearts were 100 per cent generous;
They truly would be ready and truly we would not need Christmas quite so much.
So come, Christmas, most needed of seasons. Come with the reminder that love does not depend on Perfection but on willingness to risk connection. Come into the unready manger of our hearts
That we may feel the warmth of new life
And give flesh to the promise of hope
That cries to bring healing into our world.
Be born in our unready hearts
On this silent and holy night.
All around the world the days are growing shorter and the nights longer. It is a dark and cold time of year. Sometimes the dark can be scary. When the world is dark and cold we need lights to remind us to be brave and happy. People all around the world gather together to light fires or candles or make pretty light decorations. There are lots of holidays and lights in wintertime, all over the world. We celebrate Christmas, honoring the birth of Jesus. Jesus was a great teacher. He taught that all people have a light inside of them. He said that all of us can be lights in the world. We can all help each other to be brave. He taught that we can make others happy by sharing ourselves, our light, with them. He taught that loving each other is like lighting a beautiful candle.
So tonight's gift is a candle. A small candle to light the darkness for each of us and remind us to be a light in the world.
We give thanks for Being,
We give thanks for being here
We give thanks for being here together.