I love the season of Advent. I appreciate the space it gives me to reflect and prepare my heart, as well as our home, for Christmas. In the church calendar, Advent runs from the fourth Sunday before Christmas until Christmas Eve. Christmas is then celebrated for the twelve days up until Epiphany, and the special season then continues right up to Candlemas in February.
Advent serves the same purpose for Christmas as Lent does for Easter. Yet in our hectic schedules, it can often be a whirlwind of activity with little time for quiet. I love the build up to Christmas; the carols. the twinkly lights, the sparkly decorations and the smell of gingerbread or mulled wine. I enjoy the parties and gatherings. Yet I also try to make time to contemplate the awesome meaning of Christmas. To help me in this I usually use a special Advent devotional, and ponder and pray Scriptures around the themes of our advent wreath candles. These will depend on what traditions you follow, but we use what I think are the Anglican ones of hope, peace, joy and love.
As a family we have many traditions which have built up over time and I enjoy looking back over my previous Christmas posts and photographs with a touch of nostalgia. Some have become part of the Christmas ritual, and some are fresh for certain years. This year we are going to fill a gratitude jar, by writing down things we are grateful for each day and popping them in. Hopefully we’ll have a good jar full by Twelfth night.
So, as we journey through this wonder filled season, I’ll try each week to post a few Bible verses along with some “thankful” photos showing moments of beauty or fun; those times in the midst of the mundane that cause us to stop for a minute and smile at the delight of what we are seeing. I’ll also jot down a few things we’ve done in the week. This is partly as I always like to get ideas from other mums, and partly because I believe it’s helpful, especially for those with young children or children with additional needs, to acknowledge each small achievement.
Advent 1 candle is hope.
May you have a blessed and hope filled week.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him.” Lamentations 3:21-24
“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:10-11
In our home this week we
- started reading “Hallelujah” by Cindy Rollins. This is a devotional which takes a few snippets of Handel’s Messiah each day for us to listen to and the corresponding Bible verses to read. It’s super easy to use. As the girls are not great at getting up in the morning (!) I’ve bribed them with mince pies and scrambled eggs and amazingly we’ve managed all three days so far!
- made mince meat
- set in place our Advent wreath, some twinkly lights and a few other Christmas treasures.
- started our Thankful jar.
- finished a Christmas puzzle. This is quite an achievement as most years we’re still doing it way into the New Year. Sparkly Eyes is proving to be good at puzzles so we spur each other on!
- I found a party dress to wear, a beautiful blue colour. I’m not great at choosing dressy clothes, but as I was rummaging through the dress rail in one of our favourite charity shops a friend happened to walk through the door who obviously is much better at things like this than I am and within a couple of minutes had helped me choose a dress and necklace to go with it! All for £6. Good result!
- I’m reading Delia Smiths’s “A feast for Advent”, which I enjoy in the mornings along with a steaming mug of tea and a Christmas scented candle.