Planning Advent 2014

Advent is upon us. This whole Christmas season, winter, the cold, the dark, really changes me. I feel such a different energy and atmosphere at this time of year. I feel especially spiritually sensitive, awake and aware during the times leading up to the Holy Night. Even though it is a time of darkness, for me, it is also a time of going inward, taking time for self-reflection (and facing inner darkness), reassessing who I am, saying good-bye to the old and looking ahead with faith and trust to a bright and spotless future. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come.

The long summer days are now well over. With the help of Uriel, we have carried the light from the Summer Solstice with us into fall, where Michael has helped us to face and conquer our dragons at Michaelmas. The days have been getting shorter and the nights have been getting longer, as we carry our light from Martinmas with us into the even greater darkness that is to come. It is as if at this time of year, Christ is beckoning us all to slow down and notice the pace of the winter season. Silent. Still. Calm. Relaxed. Peaceful.

Spirit whispers, retreat within yourself, adopt the pace of nature, which has gone to “sleep,” as the Earth has taken in her breath and all of the life force has been breathed in. Christ beckons us to also take time to go within ourselves to make it through the dark, cold days and nights with very little sunshine and find the light of Christ within. It is at this time of year that we come to know ourselves better in Christ and realize our human weaknesses and lower ego and his divine strength and salvation.

I really wanted to make this Christmas season special for my girls too, by planning advent events to do together every day. To me, this is what the Christmas season is all about: loving others, sharing joys, sacrificing our time and energy for others, sharing the love and light of Christ with whoever we are with, selfless service, and compassion. We are here on Earth to be beings of love and light and Christmas time is a time to especially remember that and to realize in all humility who we are in ourselves and who we are in Christ; to feel a holy and reverent awe and deep, heartfelt gratitude for Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.

I have never officially planned advent as I have this year, but I really wanted to take the time to make this a part of our celebrations. As a child, my family never took any notice of holidays and festivals or were spiritually aligned or in tune with the seasons, so celebrating the festivals, reading stories of the saints, realizing the deeper meaning behind all of these holidays and events, and teaching my children about Christ through my life’s example and by reading to them is something that I want to have as a part of our family traditions. I tried not to go overboard (as I am a definite perfectionist and over-achiever at times), but wanted to do simple, meaningful things every day. Week two, leading up to Christmas, we are going to do acts of kindness every day (from delivering Christmas cookies to neighbours, to even just little things, like holding a door for someone or giving a family member a hug).

Christ and Saint Nicholas were about giving to others, sacrifice and selflessness. I want my girls to know that Christmas is a time for giving and not just for getting, even though it is okay to receive gifts too and be grateful and happy about it! This is a time of sharing and spreading love and light to each other: a time for us to think of how we can model the examples of Saint Nicholas and Christ and be selfless, loving, compassionate and thoughtful of others.

Here are the things that I have planned for our advent activities:

All throughout the days, we always have Christmas music playing.

Week One

  • Monday, December 1st – Baby Jesus handprint craft, letter to Santa (something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read), write our Christmas cards, trip to library to pick out Christmas books, plan acts of kindness, read Christ Legends, (bake sugar cookies?)
  • Tuesday, December 2nd – Footprint mistletoes, fingerprint Christmas light painting, mail or deliver Christmas cards
  • Wednesday, December 3rd – Christmas coloring sheets, bake something (rice crispy trees/brownies?), family walk to see the Christmas lights or skating
  • Thursday, December 4th – Daddy’s birthday (make a cake), play outside, read, read and write out winter poems (Feast of Saint Barbara)
  • Friday, December 5th – Read Saint Nicholas story, give away Christmas baking, have a friend over, think of how we can be giving this day, go through our things and find things to donate to MCC thrift shop
  • Saturday, December 6th – Christmas dance recital, plant a peppermint/grow a candy cane, popsicle stick crafts, read (Feast of Saint Nicholas)
  • Sunday, December 7th – Go to church, have a family meal/invite friends or family over, read

Week Two (be mindful to perform acts of kindness every day of the week until Christmas day, plan and record these)

  • Monday, December 8th – Santa or Rudolph pancakes, handprint Rudolph craft, read
  • Tuesday, December 9th – Plan a Christmas party for the day, make Santa or snowman bread or pizza, decorate the door like a snowman
  • Wednesday, December 10th – PJ day, incorporate red and green foods into our meals throughout the day, play games, read, relax, watch some Christmas shows
  • Thursday, December 11th – Angel thumbprint craft, bake, camp out by the Christmas tree, read
  • Friday, December 12th – Reindeer sandwiches, go sledding, read
  • Saturday, December 13th – Handmade ornaments or wreath craft, play outside (go to the park), read (Feast of Saint Lucy)
  • Sunday, December 14th – Church, relaxing day, share a meal, go sledding or skating, read

Week Three

  • Monday, December 15th – Reflect on 2014, look at old pictures and videos, get outside to walk or play, read
  • Tuesday, December 16th – Hot chocolate and candy canes for a treat, toilet roll nativity or angel craft, grinch toliet roll craft, read
  • Wednesday, December 17th – Pin the nose on the Rudolph, have friends over, read, watch a Christmas show, read
  • Thursday, December 18th – Bake, color, play games, read
  • Friday, December 19th – Wrap Christmas gifts, make snow ice cream
  • Saturday, December 20th – Christmas at Grandma and Gaga’s, skating, sledding, skiing, lots of family time
  • Sunday, December 21st – Church, family meal/share a meal, winter solstice, relax, read poems and bible

Week Four

  • Monday, December 22nd – Make gingerbread play doh, read
  • Tuesday, December 23rd – Cupcake Christmas tree craft,
  • Wednesday, December 24th – Christmas eve box (pajamas, popcorn, movie, new books), relax and enjoy time reading, go out for a family walk (sledding?), bake a Christmas cake for Jesus’ birthday to eat for breakfast next day with banana ice cream
  • Thursday, December 25th – Christmas day, open presents in the morning, have Jesus’ birthday cake, go to family Christmas, come home, relax, be grateful

Advent Verses & Prayers

“Unto myself I must be true
And when my tasks I rightly do,
The God, from my own will,
The world with light is filling.
Though sometimes I feel weak and small,
I’m linked with love unto the All.
And I grow stronger when to do God’s work I’m willing.”
~Michael H. Burton

O God, by whom all blessings come, please bless us during this season of Advent.  May our hearts be prepared for the coming of Christ. May we bring blessings and our light to others this season. This we ask in the name of your son.

Amen.

O Lord, fill us with a longing for you.
Help us to be like children, open and eager,
as we wait for the coming of your Son with joy and excitement.
In the busy days ahead, help us to keep Christ in our hearts.

Seeking souls have every reason to ask themselves:  “What can this “Christ festival” mean to us?”  And in their hearts they can admit:  Precisely through Spiritual Science something will be given to humanity, which will bring again, in the fullest sense of the word, that depth and greatness which cannot be any more today.  If we don’t succumb to illusion and phantasy we must admit that these can no longer exist at present.  What has become often a mere festival of gifts cannot be said to have the same meaning as what the Christmas festival meant to people for many centuries in the past.  Through the celebration of this festival the souls used to blossom forth with hope-filled joy, with hope-borne certainty, and with the awareness of belonging to a Spiritual Being, Who descended from Spiritual heights, and united Himself with the earth, so that every human soul of good may share in His powers. Indeed, for many centuries the celebration of this festival awakened in the souls of men the consciousness that the individual human soul can feel firmly supported by the spiritual power just described, and that all men of good will can find themselves gathered together in the service of this spiritual power.  Thereby they can also find together the right ways of life on earth, so that they can mean humanly as much as possible to one another, so that they can love each other as human beings on earth as much as possible.”

“Suppose we find it appropriate to let the following comparison work on our souls: What has the Christmas festival been for many centuries, and what should it become in the future? To this end, let us compare, on the one hand, the mood which social custom creates nowadays in certain parts of the world around us, with the mood that once permeated the Christmas festival. On the other hand, let us compare this mood of the present time with what can come about in the soul as a renewal of this festival, made as it were timeless, through Spiritual Science.”

The first light of Advent is the light of stones
The light that shines in crystals in seashells and in bones
The second light of Advent is the light of plants
Green plants that reach up to the light and in the breezes dance
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts
That shines in all creatures in greatest and in least
The fourth light of Advent is the human light
The light of hope and of thought, to know and do what’s right
~ Rudolf Steiner ~
The gift of light, we thankfully take,
But it shall not be alone, for our sake.
The more we give light, one to the other,
It shines and it spreads and it grows still farther.
Until every spark by friends set aflame,
Until every heart with joy to proclaim.
In the depths of our souls,
A shining sun glows.

I love the song O Holy Night. It always makes me cry!

Christmas Reading/Books We Enjoy

  • Christ Legends by Selma Lagerlof
  • Stick Man – Julia Donaldson
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Little House On The Prairie – Sugar Snow
  • Twas The Night Before Christmas
  • Frog and Toad All Year – Arnold Lobel
  • All Year Round – Elsa Beskow
  • The Story of The Snow Children – Sibylle Von Offers
  • The Mitten – Jan Brett
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss
  • The Nutcracker

What have you been planning for advent? Do you have any Christmas traditions that you do? Any favorite Christmas scriptures, shows, movies, music, games, books or recipes to share with us all? Please do so in the comments below. I would love to hear from you and to have others spread their inspiration, love and light here in my space.

Much Love,

tiffany6

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5 thoughts on “Planning Advent 2014

  1. What lovely Advent ideas and very nostalgic of my own childhood. Ohh….
    I remember how eagerly I counted down the days until Christmas on our Advent calendar. Looks like you have a wonderful schedule planned. I like the song “People Look East.” I never heard this one before, but enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing! There is just so much in this post that I LOVE. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Priscilla! I love Christmas time! I think it is so important to make it special. I am looking forward to making many memories together. 🙂 Hope that you have a great week!

  2. We have Angel Trees in stores and malls. You pick an Angel, buy gifts for that person, & return your purchases where you got the Angel. There are children of all ages, the mentally challenged and sometimes elderly people on the trees to choose from. Being a secret santa to someone in need leaves you with a warm feeling.
    After reading all you plan, I realize I need to do so much more! I try to do acts of kindness all year, but there’s always room for improvement.
    I’d love to be one of your neighbors receiving baked goods from your sweet family.
    I can’t wait to read about all of your adventures this holiday season. This is what the season is about – not consumerism.

    • I love the feeling of giving gifts to others! I love when I pick up those few special gifts for my girls that they anticipate at Christmas. I used to go overboard when I was into consumerism, until I grew up and found my own self. In my family growing up, everything was very much about consumerism and my mom always had to have the best and most expensive stuff. Christmas wasn’t wholesome and peaceful, but chaotic and hectic most years. I am happy to be trying our new advent activities. This is something new for us, but the girls seem to be having a great time with it so far! (And so am I.)

      We all can only do what we can, though I agree that we could all probably do a little more than we think. It is like you say, “there is always room for improvement.”

      I wish I could give you some baking! We have a freezer full now of muffins, cookies, gingerbread cake and all sorts of other yummy things. I think I love baking (and eating) too much! 🙂

      Have a blessed week!

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