Monday, November 17, 2008

Thinking About Advent

Abut preparing for Christmas and preparing our hearts as we remember the birth of Our Lord.

I was thinking of doing an Advent Spiral.

The Advent spiral, a beautiful spiral of Light which symbolizes the Light of Christ.

The first Sunday in Advent is the first of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Advent then is a period of time, not a single day or moment. It is a time of quiet preparation.

Basically, the idea is this: a large spiral created of greenery and interesting branches. It is decorated with flowers, pine cones and other items from nature. In the centre on a flat surface stands a large candle, lit. Outside of the spiral someone stands with a tray with one red apple per person. The apples need to have been cored and a small candle put into each. Test out the apple candles to ensure they stand firmly - discard any which have a tendency to fall over. One adult carries the tray and hands an unlit apple candle to each as s/he in turn comes up to the spiral.

The room with the spiral is dimly lit. Someone might be playing or singing Christmas carols. Each approaches the candle in the centre and lights their candle. Then each turns back and finds a good place to put the candle amongst the greenery. A pleasant way to create a family Advent memory.

Thought we might pray the O Antiphons.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.

Tonight I re-read The Twenty Four days of Christmas by Madeleine L'engle. A children's book. A book written in the early sixties, that has been inspiring me since I was a young mum. It was out of print when my older childlren were little, it is still out of print, but I borrowed it from the library. I bought an old original copy last year. . I yearned for the kind of family life described in the Meet the Austins series of books; I knew I was making choices even then as to what we would do as a family; I started our Advent traditions then and there.


Greg said...

I have lots of memories of thos traditions in the lead up to Xmas...part of the fun of the Advent season! In fact I'm now going to go and look up 'Gaudete' on youtube, though I know it's too early for that tune just yet :)

grace said...

What a lovely tradition!