Sunday, December 9, 2012


Advent is the season of anticipation, looking forward to the coming of the Christ to Earth as a baby.
We like to celebrate advent in a way that builds Christmas up. We like to think of it as a foretaste of the explosion of joy that will happen at the climax of this season: Christmas Day.

Ready for church! 2nd Sunday of Advent, and lookin' good!

It's been so fun to see our Advent traditions slowly develop and grow richer over the last few years.
For starters, I like to make extra nice Sunday dinners during Advent, and I set the table with festive linens.

Each night during advent we follow a little liturgy our family has developed, and it's lots of fun!
When we sit down to the table, we turn all the lights off in the house, and then light the candles on the advent wreath as we sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

The boys absolutely love it, and I have to admit there's something magical and powerful about singing in the dim candlelight. (Thank you to the Coopers for the idea!) Since tonight was the second Sunday of Advent, we lit two of the candles on the wreath, and the room shone just a little bit brighter than last week.

Think how bright they will shine on Christmas, when we change our hymn to Joy to the World

We pray over the food in the candlelight, and then flip the lights on and enjoy the feast. 

Tonight's meal featured Alfredo Penne with Italian Diced Chicken!
It was delicious!

As dinner winds down, Riley reads from the Bible. We ordered some Advent readings but they still haven't arrived. We'll switch to those when they do finally come in! When he finishes reading we sing a Christmas carol from our hymn books, Riley prays again, and we sing the Doxology with hands lifted high (Asher stands on his chair so his can be the highest). Then the boys take turns blowing the candles out!
And then we have treats. (Of course!)

On Sundays, the boys get a little gift to open after dinner. Tonight they each received a canvas bag with their names embroidered on them (Thank you Lands End Black Friday sales!), to use as travel totes on our trips to Lynchburg. Inside they found a fun book to read!

And lastly, each morning the boys find a miniature stocking hanging on the tree, stuffed with a little surprise waiting for them. They come downstairs bleary eyed, squinting in the brightness of the lights (because they're always up long before the sun!), giddy and dancing as they take their stocking down to find a couple M&Ms or some other sweet treat hiding inside. 

I sewed these stockings, which are miniatures of their normal-sized stockings, to use for advent this year. One year I'd like to make an advent calendar filled with notes describing fun activities or privileges they will enjoy each day, but for right now the M&Ms really hit the spot.

I pulled out the Christmas train for the first time this season!
It was a big hit.

We sure love making our celebration of  Christmas as big as it can get. Our little family will continue to develop new traditions, rich and full and sweet. And it's fun to think about how our Advent celebrations will look years from now. 

We'll probably be really good at partying by then!

Happy second Sunday of Advent!

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