Advent Rituals

In the studio we're putting our last touches on our new Advent stoles and have noticed a bit of buying frenzy....the season is fast upon us.  To top this reality off my sister called yesterday to pick my brain for resources for family activities for her school website. When thinking about what's been important and meaningful to our family over the years I can't escape thoughts of the Advent wreath. Each year to help us with our waiting for the the celebration of remembering Christ's birth and preparing our hearts for his return we gather on Sunday evenings around our Advent wreath. We follow this tradition from my own childhood. Our homemade wreath is often a bit "rustic" and consists simply of evergreens and purple candles. We read scripture, discuss a topic focused on the reading and offer up family prayer. There is much symbolism in this ritual. Of course the circle reminds us of God's never ending love, the evergreens reinforce this fact and the candles help us to count the days and increase the light as we go. Ultimately we light a pure white candle on Christmas Eve to celebrate Jesus Christ the light of the world. The time before Christmas can be a constant struggle between what the world tells us we should be doing (buying, baking, attending parties, etc.) and how the waiting might better be focused. I like what Gertrud Mueller Nelson says in her book To Dance with God, "Waiting could use a fresh look. The discipline of delayed gratification--not celebrating Christmas until the twenty-fourth of December--and the hope filled rituals of our Advent preparations will give new value to the waiting periods in our lives." This year I'm wondering how we enter Advent as people pregnant and waiting. Any ideas?

The pictured Advent stole with evergreens and gold cross can be found on our website here.