This year’s unusually short season of Advent gives us just three weeks and one day to prepare for the coming of Christ on Christmas day. CUF’s Faith Fact on Advent and Christmas traditions (found here) gives great advice on observing this liturgical season. Here are three simple ways to enter prayerfully into the season of Advent with your family:
Display and pray with the Advent wreath: The Advent wreath, which has German origins, is probably the most recognized Advent custom. It is a wreath made of evergreens that is bound to a circle of wire. It symbolizes the many years from Adam to Christ in which the world awaited its Redeemer; it also represents the years that we have awaited His second and final coming. The wreath holds four equally spaced candles, the three purple ones lit on the “penitential” Sundays and a pink one for Gaudete, the joyful third Sunday in Advent. There are many available prayers and hymns found in the reading list that can accompany your personal Advent wreath ceremony.
Review Salvation History by constructing a Jesse tree: The Jesse tree tells about Christ’s ancestry through symbols and relates Scripture to salvation history, progressing from creation to the birth of Christ. The tree can be made on a poster board with the symbols glued on, or on an actual tree. Try a simple internet search to find templates for the tree’s ornaments.
Anticipate Christ’s coming with a Nativity scene: This is the event in which the entire family shares — setting up the Christmas manger. Mary and Joseph should be far off traveling and their approach to Bethlehem can be adjusted daily. Older children can make life-size Nativity models, carve them, cut them out from cardboard, or set up pre-made figurines. The creative ideas are without limit. Make sure to place the Nativity scene where many can admire the children’s efforts to give God glory.
For a complete listing of Faith Fact titles, visit the CUF website.