Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10+ household practices for Advent

St. Luker's decorate wreaths each year for use
in our homes. The wooden platforms (made by
our own Wilbur L.) are a vast improvement over
the styrofoam ones of years past!
A season of getting ready.
A time to listen...to prophets and angels.
They are telling us that God still loves us, that light is coming, that we have a part to play.
They are telling us to be quiet. Listen and watch, because God is going to do something amazing.
How will we get ready to see the light in the darkness?
How will we prepare to say "yes" to God's invitation?

Below are few ideas of ways to observe Advent, which begins December 2, in our households. Many of these were suggested by our "Raising Cain" group of parents who gather monthly to discuss raising children, youth, and young adults in the faith.

Advent Practices for Households (a work in progress by St. Luke’s, Durham, 2012)

-Light the Advent wreath together. Include prayers, songs, stories from scripture.
-Use an Advent calendar, opening a door or placing something new on the calendar each day. You can purchase Advent calendars or make your own. Consider a felt board calendar with a different cut-out for each day.
-Set up an empty crèche scene. Move the Holy Family (Mary and Joseph) closer to the crèche each day. On Christmas, place the baby Jesus in the manger.
-“Pad the manger” with “straws of love.” Set up an empty box or basket. During Advent add a piece of straw to the basket every time someone in the family does an act of love for someone else. When we perform acts of love for others, we are getting our hearts ready to receive God’s love, like the manger ready to receive the baby Jesus.
-Sing Advent songs together. There is an entire Advent section in the Hymnal.
-Perform acts of service together as a family. Buy presents for needy families or food for the food pantry. Clean up God’s creation.
-Find quiet times. Just sit in the dark and look at the lights on your tree or the lights of your Advent wreath together.
-Set aside money together as a family that you will donate to a charity that is special to your family. Buy honor cards at the alternative gift fair to support organizations that help others.
-Celebrate Feast Days during the season such as St. Nicholas Day on December 6.
-Look out for other Advent events in the community.
-Select Advent story books to read together.
-Decorate your house/tree in stages, so that you are adding Christmas decorations all the way up until Christmas Eve.
-Look online for other resources. Here are a couple of good ones:
http://storypath.wordpress.com/lectionary-links/ Makes connections between upcoming readings in church and children’s literature (good all year round, not just Advent).
www.stnicholascenter.org St. Nicholas activities, crafts, recipes, and more, plus how to explain the difference between this Advent saint and “Santa Claus.”

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