The Advent of Advent

I originally posted this on November 27, 2011, but as they say… 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.

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