Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Advent reflections

Advent this year has been different from ever before. I've never been so glad that I took time in the earlier years of parenting to think through family traditions and to build habits! November was full of busyness and guests, and December started off with more than a week without Papa, so I never had a moment to stop and think and plan what we would be doing this year. And yet, that hasn't mattered. We have faithfully had our quiet, thoughtful, and chaotic evenings with lots of time together by candlelight. Somehow, I found our nativity scene and Jesse tree pictures in boxes, and off we went "to Bethlehem" as Bogdan says often these days.

The first Sunday of Advent Jaan discovered that the church bookstore sells sparklers, so he bought some with his own money and generously shared them with everyone as a big surprise that evening. We've repeated that on the following Sundays, too. It was especially nice, since I didn't even have a chance to buy candles or make an advent wreath. We did scrounge up candles after that first Sunday, at least.

The Christmas Mystery was our new special treat, and it's been perfect for this year and this age range. Every evening we lit our candles, sang, and then turned on the audio book chapter for that day. I didn't even have to wrestle with balancing Bogdan and a book to read aloud. And everyone was enthralled! Bogdan picked up on the refrain in the book, "to Bethlehem!" and repeated it every time he heard it, even if he didn't follow the rest of the story.

Listening and coloring
In the mornings we read Jesse tree passages and hung the pictures (see them below?) as part of our morning school. So, that didn't happen every single day, but we got a good idea of Jesus' family tree.

Another little something different this year is that all our children's Sunday school classes have advent wreathes. They lit candles and talked about Christmas coming, too. It was the first time our children could ever just randomly babble (as they do) about Advent and have people around them actually understand what they mean. I wished that I had a camera the first time they lit a candle in Bogdan's class. They gathered all the toddlers around, lit the candles, and then Bogdan started singing "A-A-A-a-a-a...." No one joined in, and he was a bit baffled when they just blew them out a little later, but at least they had them, and he definitely knew what was going on!

We've slowly brought out our nativity scene figures, one by one, sometimes reading these sweet devotionals, sometimes not. That depended on our mood and how our set matched up with the author's there. Now the empty manger awaits the Baby....

1 comment:

Mom said...

Such meaningful beauty…thank you for sharing. Does the manger get filled today or 7 January?

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