For a few weeks now I’ve been thinking a lot about advent and how I’d like to observe it with my family. I know Elias is too young now to really understand what is going on, and he certainly won’t understand the abstract. But now is the time to start. Now is the time to start traditions which my children will remember when they are grown. Now is the time to start celebrating what is most important. Now is the time to get my ducks in a row…so to speak…so that I won’t have to make up lost ground later.
What do I want my children to know and love about Christmas? The things that I emphasize now will help create their experiences and their memories. Our family time will shape who they become. Right now we are living the life they will remember. What do I want them to remember?
I’ve done a lot of research about advent and about family traditions surrounding advent. I’m really intrigued by the Jesse Tree. I’d never heard of it before, and neither had my husband. I’m definitely doing that…but not this year. Elias needs to be able to participate so I think I will start that tradition in 2013 when he is three. What can I do now?
I’ve decided to start relatively simple this year. We will continue our advent wreath tradition, and I’ve also made an advent chain. There is one link in the chain for each day in advent. Each link has three scripture verses written on it (an old testament, a psalm, and a gospel reading) Each night at dinner we will read the verses together. This will help us prepare our hearts for Christmas. It will help us remember what is important in the midst of holiday madness. It will start us on the road toward teaching our children why we celebrate Christmas, even if this year Elias just sees us reading a book and lighting candles. It is a foundation.