Saturday, December 6, 2008

Post-Modern Collaborative Advent Wreath

I posted last year on our Advent devotions, a family tradition we're carrying on from Libby's childhood. Advent is the season in the church year that comes before Christmas. It's a time of remembering Israel waiting for the light of the Messiah (who we believe is Jesus) to come, and a time of preparing our hearts for this Christ to come again. We explain it to the kids that when Jesus comes back, God will fix all the brokenness in the world; wipe away all tears and make everything how it was made to be. We do a little prayer time, light candles, sing and play instruments, and read a story or two. It's all very simple.
I love doing Advent devotions because it takes away the bustle of December and focuses us, draws our attention to the bright light that shines in the darkness. Don't we need light when it's so dark outside! Dinner time is really deep night for us this time of year! And then there are deeper darknesses too, for which we need even more light.Our advent wreath turned out so fun this year. All the supplies for this were thrifted or gifted. The colors of the candles are not "proper" at all; I just used what we had. The Christmas candle has little kids playing instruments on one side and ducks on the other. Of course he decided that the ducks will face out. I don't think that the colors of the Advent wreath are ancient tradition. Everyone seems to have their own idea about what each one stands for, so I make free with this tradition. For our Christmas candle, I try to find anything lovely. One year it was a rainbow, another it was covered in green sparkly swirlyques, and this year it's this little volks-art scene.
There are one, two, three, and four stars on each of the candles to represent what respective week we are on. By the time we get to the four-star candle, we will be lighting all four candles, and just a week away from Christmas. Gibbie helped me design and make the candle decorations. (they are made with soft colored wax that we cut and press onto the candles) We have a blackbird for peace, a lamb for joy, bunnies for love, and a sunrise for hope, all very personal symbols for us. I think this is the essence of liturgy; using ritual to make real to us spiritual truths that we cannot see.

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