The Advent of Advent

I originally posted this on November 27, 2011, but as they say‚Ķ what’s old is new again.

advent candles

Photo Credit: the_drumthumper, Flickr

Sunday, December 1 marks the first day of the Advent season.

Um, yes, that’s today. As usual, Advent sneaks up on us, as we are still in the flurry of finishing up Thanksgiving, and our popular culture is screaming Black Friday! Buy Stuff! Order those Christmas cards! Plan Your Parties!

The season of Advent is traditionally a Catholic practice of preparation and anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is not a tradition that HapaPapa or I observed while growing up. However, in recent years Advent has become increasingly practiced among Protestants and non-denominational Christians. I like that it’s a way of turning focus toward the spiritual, instead of on the secular and materialistic vibe that is so prevalent at this time of year.

So along with our church, we have tried to incorporate the practices of Advent into our family life. Last year, I finally had enough foresight to buy a wreath and candle setup from another local church. As a family, we made an effort to at least light a candle each Sunday night for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. My children liked it. Probably because I let them hold burning candles, but I think they also enjoyed the ritual.

But the practice of Advent is not always easy. Again this year, we will be driving home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the first Sunday. The wreath and candles are buried in the garage, along with the Christmas ornaments. And our house is still decorated with pumpkins and fall leaves. Rushing home to a Monday at school and work (and laundry and grocery shopping…) really, the last thing on my mind is slowing down for a season of prayer.

Although perhaps that’s when I need it the most.

Do you observe Advent? What are your traditions?


I like this video, too.


    • says

      Thanks Nikki! We are on the highway right now, but yes, great pointer under about remembering the spirit of th occasion even without the trappings.

  1. says

    Hi Grace! Neither my husband’s nor my family have ever practiced or followed Advent. In truth, this is the first I’ve ever heard anything about it. Hubby and I discussed this, but all we’ve ever really heard of was people talking about the “Advent Season.” But I do appreciate learning about this. Now I won’t be ignorant. (Smiling!)

    So here’s wishing a Joyous Advent to those that celebrate it!


    • says

      Virginia, I’m glad I’m not the only one ;) I do think the celebration of Advent can be a beautiful and meaningful tradition… But it shouldn’t become another “thing” on the to-do list. We never did get around to lighting our candle tonight. Oh well, next Sunday we get to light two!

  2. anselma says

    it’s funny I happened to stumble upon your website and even funnier that I saw this topic. I also decided this year we would start the tradition but wondered where I could find the wreath & candles last minute (after the announcement in church). By the time I got everyone to finish the homework that should have started a few days ago it was too late to look for it anywhere. I promised myself we would do it today (Monday) -oh well better late than never. Besides, we don’t like to take down the fall decorations until the week AFTER thanksgiving. It sounds like may people had the same issues I did so perhaps the best we can do is aim for Monday-it lasts a whole anyway.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *