Thanksgiving has passed and the Advent season has begun. It is a season of waiting, preparing, and anticipation.
Advent is one of my favourite times of year a we celebrate the coming of our Savoir. We spend the short days of winter in the dark anticipating the coming light of Jesus. We are reminded of the darkness of our sin and the light that salvation brings.
Advent seems to be a lost tradition on many who grew up in non-liturgical churches. Though I did not grow up in a liturgical church it has been a tradition carried on from my maternal grandparents passed onto my mom, and now myself.
Intentional celebration does not mean adding all you can to your month. Often it means simplifying and cutting back. Over the years, I have found 6 simple ways to create an intentional Advent that I would like to share with you.
1. Light an Advent Wreath
Advent wreaths are simple, yet meaningful addition to our celebration. For many families it lighting the candles each Sunday. Others, myself included light the week’s candle each night. A popular theme is hope, love, joy and peace.
2. Go Light on the Decorations
Have grace on yourself, your house does not be decorated from head to toe. Choose decorations that reflect the spirit you want to show. In all honesty for years I was not able to have a tree most years so my Advent wreath and nativity were the focus of my decorations.
3. Read an Advent Devotional
There are so many wonderful devotionals that focus on the why of celebrating.
For years, my girls in Mexico and I read through Ann Voskamp’s “Jesse Tree” devotional. She converted it into a beautiful full cover hardback called, “Unwraping the Greatest Gift“. Every day we added a new ornament to our tiny tree and read a devotion that wove the story of salvation from Creation to Jesus’ birth. You can make your own “Jesse Tree” and ornaments like we did.
This year I am going through two. I have one on my Kindle, “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus” by Asheritah Ciuciu from One Thing Alone. (Right now she has an Advent Bundle Giveaway going on!) What better way to prepare our hearts for Christmas than focusing on who Jesus is and why each name is a part of who he is?
My second devotional is Ann Voskamp’s, “The Greatest Gift”. I’ve had to keep myself from diving into it too soon!
4. Carefully Choose What Events to Attend
As it gets closer to Christmas the invites and activities we can participate in pile up. Trying to go to every.single.one can get weary and take away from family time. Just because it’s a good thing does not mean we have to do it. Give yourself a break a pick just a few. It makes the season more relaxed and allows you to more fully enjoy the things you do participate in.
5. Create an Advent Play List
I love listening to Christmas music, I am definitely guilty of listening to some of it year round. (Jesus wasn’t born this time of year so why not listen to it in the spring?) As much as I enjoy Bing Crosby and bit of Jingle Bells I have come to crave the songs that focus on Jesus himself.
This year I have been working on an “Advent Playlist”. I am looking forward to celebrating Advent with songs of waiting and anticipation. Songs that remind us that we were once in darkness and now are in the light because of Jesus. (Maybe if I’m on top of my game I can put it up on Spotify in a few days for you.)
I am planning on saving more of the music focused on Christ’s birth for closer to Christmas, that way I can enjoy it through Epiphany as well. I enjoy celebrating all 12 day of Christmas and ending with a Rosca de Reys (Mexican 3 Kings Cake).
6. Keep an Advent Calander
Advent calendars are a fun way to count down the days till Christmas. Traditionally they go from December 1st through Christmas Day. The calendar I grew up with was a cloth one where a little bear moved from room to room in a house.
The calendar I created for my girls in Mexico was a long string with muslin bags attached. Each day had a different activity ranging from drinking hot cocoa to doing an act of kindness for someone.