Oh Advent! How I adore the season of Advent. The preparation and the excitement and the waiting and the reflecting. I just love everything about it.
At church on the first Sunday in Advent, the pastor engaged us in a conversation about simplifying our lives and particularly our Advent season. So, even though the church was fully decorated, we were instructed to start taking decorations down. Woah.
As the music played, we all made our way to the sides of the sanctuary to take a silver ball down from the garland. We were then instructed to consider what we needed to take away from our own Advent seasons in order to more clearly reflect on God and Christ's coming. We put the silver balls in vases at the front of the church, and then prayerfully returned to our seats.
This year I really wanted to simplify Christmas at home. I wanted to decorate less and just make everything easier and more calm. So, I didn't even pull out my normal Advent wreath. Instead, I took some cuttings from our Christmas tree and put them on the table. I had white pillar candles tucked in a cabinet, and Berkley helped me write the liturgical words on a piece of construction paper that went around each candle. While our normal wreath is not particularly elaborate, this homemade version just made my heart sing.
After the wreath was ready, we discovered a lovely new tradition. We used the family Advent devotions from Illustrated Children's Ministry and were blown away with how special it was that first night. We lit the first candle, read the corresponding scripture, and asked each other some questions. It was a great, calm, thoughtful way to begin our family's favorite season of the year.