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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Part 1 - Keeping Advent

The Foyer
The foyer sets the “tone” for your home. During Advent the tone in our home is “quiet preparation and hopeful anticipation”. Would you like to read more about the season of Advent?

Our tradition, developed over a few years of being totally overwhelmed by homeschooling, is to put out a few special bits of the decorations on certain days (St. Nicholas’ Day, St. Lucia Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day –more later). The rhythm of the season was so nice, we've kept it up on purpose! It is lovely when the season slowly and gently unfolds before us.

The Study
Praying with Anglican prayer beads has been a wonderful spiritual practice for me. I find that these “rote” prayers are beautiful meditations and encourage me to remove myself from the focus of prayers and place that focus on the Lord. I find these prayers are particularly helpful when the mind and the will are tired and weak. During Advent, I’ll be using some prayer bead prayers specifically for the season. (I printed this out and am now having trouble finding the link. I'll post it as soon as I find it, so check back!)

For personal devotions and contemplation, beyond my daily office, I’ll be using Advent and Christmas With Thomas Merton. This is a Roman Catholic publication which includes a few Marian devotions. These I could skip, but instead I’ll read them with an Anglican “eye”. (Expressing thankfulness for her rather than prayer to her.)

The Dining Room
On the dining table, you’ll find our Advent Wreath as the centerpiece and this is where we will have our Sunday Family Advent devotions. As much as I’d like to have a nightly devotion, I’ve just not been able to pull it off. So, instead of setting a high bar and failing, we are setting the bar at a level that is reasonable for our family.

Our Advent wreath is a simple pewter one with the traditional purple and pink candles. Last year, I added some rosemary sprigs from my garden for evergreens. I enjoyed this because when they got dried out, I could easily renew them. The pewter wreath with loose evergreens is much easier for me to handle than making a fresh wreath every year and keeping the greens misted.

The Advent wreath will be replaced with a traditional Christmas Pyramid on Christmas Eve. It has the Nativity figures on three different levels. We go from the simple to the madly decorative!


Anonymous said...

Why, Kerry, your foyer is simply lovely! :o) I'll be sure to come back and see how the rest of your home is decorated as we prepare our hearts to receive anew the very greatest gift. Thanks for sharing. I must say, I feel acquitted of the guilt I've felt the last few years for not having Advent devotions every night with our family. I think I'll set the bar at weekly devotions in our home as well. I'm also enjoying the gentle unwrapping of Christmas by putting up a few decorations at a time. Love your thoughts. If I don't see you, I hope you and your family have a peaceful Advent and Christmas. Much love,