Monday, December 15, 2014

The Tradition of Advent

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas (or sometimes from the 1st December to Christmas Day). Advent means 'Coming' in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.

There are three meanings of 'coming' that Christians describe in Advent. The first, and most thought of, happened about 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives now. And the third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge, not a baby.

Some people fast during advent to help them concentrate on preparing to celebrate Jesus's coming. In many Orthodox and Eastern Catholics Churches, Advent lasts for 40 days and starts on November 15th and is also called the Nativity Fast.

There are several ways that Advent is counted down but the most common is by a calendar or candle(s).

There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK and USA are made of paper or card with 25 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath. When they were first made, scenes from the Christmas Story and other Christmas images were used, such as snowmen and robins, but now many calendars are made in the theme of television programmes and sports clubs. Some of these types of calendar even have chocolate under each window, to make every day in December that little bit better! 

(Above information from http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/advent.shtml).



I LOVE Christmas! Probably everyone says that, so I join everyone in saying that I really do love Christmas. I love the carols and songs that fill the radio stations (all except for The Chipmunks, Feliz Navidad, and The Christmas Shoes). I love the decorations, the traditions, the parties and the extra friends and family time. I love life lived outside of the norm. I love buying and wrapping gifts, and I love the extra opportunities to be generous. Most of all, I LOVE all of the focus that gets centered around the true reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ.

This year I'm going to do a little countdown to Christmas of my own, of all things beautiful and Christmas-y that we love and cherish about this month.

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The Truth in the Tinsel has been a new addition to our family traditions this year, and we are all LOVING it! It's an ebook that you can purchase here for only $7.99: http://truthinthetinsel.com/buy-the-book/ and download to several devices. 

You start on December 1st, and go through the 24th building your way up to Christmas Day. Each day, you and your child read a passage of The Bible, focusing on different aspects of the Christmas story, and then make an ornament at the end of the reading. Each day your child gets a clue word for the reading, so they listen intently, and then when they hear that word read, they shout it out. It has been good fun each evening at our home. 

Here are a few of our ornaments made:





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Of course with the start of Advent also comes chocolate Advent calenders from my Grandma Ruth. Hooray for Grandma Ruth and for getting to eat chocolate first thing in the morning!







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Christmas Tree shopping and Christmas Decorations!







      Here's a favorite picture, from the days of my
      reckless youth, entitled "tanning bed much?"


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Christmas Photo shoots

This year, our sweet friend Dawn of Dawn Geraghty Photography offered to shoot some pictures of our kiddos to use in her portfolio, and I got to bring my own camera and take advantage of her great choice of location, lighting and posing.







 









And here are some of the wonderful pictures from our fantastic, actual real photographer. Her work is just beautiful, and she was so much fun to hang out with.












And finally, our family Christmas picture, and one with Bryan's side of the family:




...and we're off to a great start, and looking forward to rockin' many more of the joys of Christmas!

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