As we prepare for Advent beginning on December 2, I thought I would post the resources that we have available on this site for daily Advent prayer and Scripture reading.
If you do nothing else for Advent, buy an Advent wreath and candles.* We use this prayer and Scripture reading booklet from our church every year. We light the candles before we start to eat dinner and then follow the readings and prayers.
So many great Jesse Tree options are out there, but I do think these Scandinavian style ornaments Bley painted to correspond with Rachel Chaney’s Jesus Tree are especially lovely. Because my family already has a morning prayer routine going, we aren’t going to follow her whole devotional. Instead, I’ve put together this list of Scriptures to correspond with the ornaments (all free for your use). We’ll read the Scripture and hang the ornament before we go into our normal morning prayer.
If you’re following the Advent Wreath Booklet, you’ll see that it also includes prayers for the Great O Antiphons beginning on December 17th. You may also want to print out these beautiful O Antiphon ornaments to put on your tree as you go through each day.
An Advent Song (or Two) Per Day
This year, I was able to put together a list of Advent Hymns and Carols. I plan to do the same for Christmas and Epiphany.
For other Advent ideas (i.e. coloring pages, St. Nicholas and St. Lucy ideas), check out this list.
A Few Thoughts on a Good Advent
I wrote these reflections down a few years ago when we started the Homely Hours, but I never posted them. However, as we get ready for Advent, I found these to be helpful reminders for myself:
- Advent is a time for peace, quiet, and waiting, but it’s also a battle. Between December 1st and 24th,everything in our culture is in a frenzy of keeping “Consumertide.” It is the High Feast Days of the Mall Year (though, of course, by the grace of God, still mingled with lights of truth and beauty). With that in mind, why do I expect it to feel easy and peaceful to keep Advent and to resist the all-consuming pressures of “Consumertide?” The ‘waiting’ of Advent does not mean passivity. Peace does not mean ease. This, too, is a time to put on the “full armour of God.”
- A good Advent does not mean that I will feel spiritual and transcendent and in tune emotionally with the “magic of the season.” I really appreciated this post from Auntie Leila from Like Mother, Like Daughter, on “What Advent is Really About,” especially the following:”… the general tendency, greatly aggravated by our modern mindset and its hold over us, to emphasize how we feel threatens to derail what could be a good trend. Even if we don’t think of ourselves as particularly modern, we retain modernism’s imprint, thinking that our reaction to things, measured by our emotions, is the only sign we can trust. Are we spending a lot of time and energy (and, actually, money*) watching ourselves feel something about Advent? Are we busily monitoring how we are doing with our religious efforts? Are we taking note of whether we are taking note? Very importantly, are we experiencing defeat when we don’t have what we consider the right feelings — the ones that the (well intentioned) people want us to feel?” Make sure to read the whole post (and every other post on Like Mother, Like Daughter).
- In light of that, while a good Advent doesn’t necessarily mean I will feel like praying or reading Scripture, a good Advent will objectively mean more prayer and Scripture in my home. Advent is the perfect time to jump start the habit of daily family prayer. This is the start of the church’s new year — it can be a new church year resolution!
- Lastly, a good Advent means more humility. No matter how we keep Advent, the Lord still comes to us. Advent is not about me feeling like a good mother, with lots of perfectly put together plans (In fact, I generally only carry out 10% of my Advent plans and that’s because my kids make sure we light the candles every night and sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”) Really, at the end of the day, we’re just supposed to wait. May we wait well this upcoming Advent and “may every heart prepare Him room.”
*For candles, we bought this kit to make beeswax candles this year. If you’re looking for other quality beeswax candles, these ones from St. Andrew’s look great (look at how tall they are! They will definitely last through Advent). But, if you want to pay less, we’ve used these in the past. They do melt quickly, but they do the job (if you don’t keep them lit throughout supper). And, if you are getting your Advent plans together at the last minute, we’ve found candles at Hallmark, managing to snag them for our Advent wreath/candle blessing a half hour before church started.
Header Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash: My Advent candles are still just sheets of beeswax.