Monday, December 10, 2012

The Many Traditions of Christmas

     Among the traditions that our family has embraced for Christmas, the lighting of the Advent Wreath and the Christmas Eve Birthday Party for Jesus are two of my favorites. I never spent any money on either party, just used the simplest of decorations for each, yet both hold a certain poignancy of memory for me.
    As for the Advent Wreath, we adopted this tradition at home primarily because it was a tradition celebrated in our church. Each Sunday during the four weeks before Christ's birth we would light a candle during Sunday evening dinner and read a portion of the Christmas story from the book of Luke. We would have a candlelit dinner on those Sundays and it was always a special time.  I remember my children asking as their father read part of the story when they were little, "When is the baby getting borned?" "When does King Jesus get here?"
    I love that as the candles burned lower, the anticipation of the Holy Child's arrival was building. For my own Advent Wreath I always simply gathered pine boughs and holly from my yard and wreathed them around an old brass candle holder I had picked up at a garage sale. There were four white candles and either a fat candle for the middle or a single red candle in a candlestick in the center. Nothing fancy. Just what was on hand.
Source: via Roberta on Pinterest

I love the simple white plate filled with fresh eucalyptus
and stacked with white candles....lovely!

The mixed greenery used here is especially appealing.
And how appropriate that wooly lamb's ear is used to 
represent the Lamb of God.

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Here is a sweet baby proof design, imagination required!

Our birthday Party for Jesus was also simple and always took place on Christmas Eve. The Husband would read the Christmas story in its entirety. The long awaited babe had finally arrived. There was usually a great sigh of relief. The final light in the Advent Wreath would be lit. Then the lights were all extinguished and the children waited in darkness while I scuttled into the kitchen to bring back the cupcake with the single candle, surrounded by unlit cupcakes back into the room. Each person would have a chance to blow out the single candle and talk about why he or she was thankful for Jesus. Then we would talk about the meaning of Emmanuel, God with us, and the fact that Christ is the Light shining into the darkness both in the world, and most importantly, into our hearts. My heart is warmed that my children are embracing this tradition with their own children. It's a tradition so simple and easy to execute, but one fraught with great meaning.
   Here are some additional ideas. There are a host of resources available for the celebration of Advent on Pinterest and other blogs. Don't get overwhelmed. Just keep it simple.

I love Christmas, but what I love the most, is the truth behind Christmas: The King of Heaven coming to earth in the form of an infant, a child born to be the sacrifice and the atonement for the sins of the world. It is at once both a wonderful and terrible truth, is it not...Emmanuel, God With Us.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. We appreciate your input and feedback! Have a blessed day!