This little carnival began in 2007 as a way to connect with other liturgically-minded bloggers (and blog readers). You can enjoy those carnivals, too: 2007 and 2008.
We all hope you find some inspiration for starting or continuing your family's Advent tradition!
History of Advent
Advent is the first season of the Church Year, starting four Sundays before Christmas (the Sunday nearest November 30th) and ends on Dec. 24th, Christmas Eve. The Advent season was formally established by the church at the Council of Tours in 567 as a period of fasting and preparation for the 12-day feast of Christmas. Our Eastern Christian friends (Eastern Orthodox) begin their Advent or Nativity Fast much earlier, the middle of November (40 days before Christmas).
:-: Deb, a long-time blogging friend and convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, has some lovely and simple Advent ideas for Easter OR Western Christians at her blog Deb on the Run. Don't miss her lovely Jesse Tree!
Learning about Advent
The word Advent comes from the latin "adventus", which means "coming", which was a translation of the Greek "parousia" a term that is often used for the Second Coming. Thus Advent is a season of looking forward to the immediate coming (of Christmas) and the future return of Christ.
:-: Papa Bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears shares a series of posts describing their journey to discovering Advent: How a Simple Tradition Led from Commercialism to Christ.
:-: Elizabeth at In the Heart of My Home has a load of Advent and Christmas links, including a few of her fantastic lesson plans for homeschoolers. BUT after you read those, don't miss her post about doing Advent "Right": Advent and the Generous Person
Preparation of the heart
Advent is a season of fasting, reflection, and preparation of hearts and homes, much like Lent, but with a decidedly festive undercurrent.
:-: Ann from Learning As We Go has written a series of devotions to use with your family during Advent all on the theme of PREPARATION. She has offered to email the full curriculum (with crafts and full children's church routines) to anyone interested.
Exploring symbols and meaning
Many families enjoy making and using an Advent wreath made of evergreens. You may use any type of greenery you like or have on hand. We have huge rosemary bushes which need cutting back, so we often use some rosemary mixed in with other greenery. Here are some of the types of evergreens and their symbolic meanings:
- Pine , the most common evergreen, points to Everlasting Life,
- Laurel (Bay), which was used to crown those who won in the games, signifies victory.
- Cedar , because it is long lasting and aromatic, is symbolic of strength and healing.
- Juniper , Holly, and Rosemary By legend these plants provided shelter and help for the Holy Family when they fled from Bethlehem to Egypt. The fragrance of rosemary, it has been said, began when the Virgin Mary laid out the Infant Jesus’ clothes to dry on this plant. The rosemary bush responded by perfuming the Christ Child’s clothing.
Holly . Its prickly leaves remind us of the Crown of Thorns. Its red berries remind us of the Blood of Jesus shed for us upon the Cross.
- Ivy , since it is frequently used as a decoration, has always been a symbol of joy and festivity.
:-: Amy from Splendor in the Ordinary challenges us to enjoy new and different traditions and ideas, but not to miss the depth and richness of the ones we might already enjoy. Don't miss her further links on Advent Wreaths and Christmas Traditions, The Jesse Tree, Favorite Christmas Books, and an Advent music playlist!
Each week's candle also has a symbolic meaning
First Week of Advent - Hope
Arise, shine; For you light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60: 1-3
:-: My friend at Two Square Meals shares a winsome and touching post about last year's Advent when she not only awaited the birth of Christ, but the birth of her third child: God Made Flesh.
Second Week of Advent - Love
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 40:4-5
:-: Amy, from Frankly Journaling, an "in-real-life" friend, shares how she came to appreciate and love the liturgical form of worship and how she is teaching her children to love it, too, in her family's Advent celebrations. If you are new to Advent or liturgy, don't miss her Journey to Advent!
Third Week of Advent - Joy
. . . and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35: 10
:-: The Olive Grove tells us about her Advent as a "baptist with liturgical longings" and how simplifying in Advent has made Christmas more meaningful. She has discovered that by giving up some things (or really postponing them) she has gained much more. She also promises more posts about Advent in Keeping Advent: What's Missing?
Fourth Week of Advent - Peace
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6-7
:-: Amy, a dear and gracious blogging friend, who has mercifully forgiven me for my oversight, is Escaping into Advent on her blog On a Joyful Journey. I adore that phrase. I'm going to meditate on that. ~~~ She also has posted a great list of meaningful and fun movies for Advent and Christmas. Anyone who loves White Christmas, A Christmas Carol (from 1951) and Elf definitely has my kind of movie taste!
:-: And finally, my post from last year: The Advent That Almost Wasn't. I was always (and still am) a fan of "The Year Without A Santa Claus", well last year was almost the year without an Advent, and just like that story, in the end I realized what I might be missing. And a link to a collection of my previous Advent posts, including a 5 part series on our family's many Advent traditions!
We hope you enjoyed the carnival! Please tell your friends about, and feel free to borrow the image to do so. If you post about Advent, please leave a link in the comments, so we can come visit!