All posts filed under: Advent

Nativity Artwork for Children (and their Grownups!)

We have had some time this Advent in our elementary Sunday School class while we practice our Christmas play and music, so we decided to do some special projects to share, because I deeply believe that Advent is for making. I thought it would be fun to share a few step-by-steps for making these simple nativities with children and/or adults.  With a bit of advance planning, we completed these in about 20 minutes, leaving us with enough time for some singing and play prep.  This coming Sunday we will wrap them, and send them home to place under the Christmas tree. Do let us know if you make these!  You can tag us on Instagram @thehomelyhours, or leave us a comment here with a picture. Materials: 8″ x 10″ canvas panel for each person (get them on sale; they are almost always on sale:) Acrylic paint in: white, turquoise, gold, yellow, orange, brown. Paintbrush for each person Paper towels Aluminum foil Aprons and patience! Method: Step 1: Before your class or gathering, prep your canvas backgrounds …

Celebrating St. Lucy at Our House

Auntie Leila wisely counsels: “The Church has provided us with all we need and we don’t have to manufacture any feelings about it. Follow her lead in worship. That is, follow her in the celebration of the mysteries, the readings appointed for each day and each hour, and the prayers that gently and peacefully direct our gaze where it needs to be. Be attentive: Wisdom! Bring this objectivity into the home with simple, liturgy-related traditions (and yes, a few little crafts, perhaps, and I will touch on those later) that appeal to you and your husband. Keep things old-fashioned so that, paradoxically, they remain timeless and universal. Make your devotions few and meaningful to your time and place. (E.g. if you are Swedish, then go for the daring St. Lucy crown of lit candles on a toddling girl’s head this December 13, but if you are not, don’t worry about it too much.)” Well, part of my family is Swedish. When I was reading this, I thought to myself, I should ask my Swedish cousin how she celebrates St. …

The Second Week of Advent

Collect: “Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. Saints Days: Thursday, December 13: St Lucy All that is really known about St. Lucy is that she was a young martyr during the Diocletian persecution of 304 A.D. Traditions has it that Lucy was born of noble parents, but her father died when she was around 5. Lucy devoted her virginity to the Lord, but her mother, not knowing this and looking to settle Lucy’s future since she was suffering from a bleeding disorder, arranged for her daughter to marry a wealthy pagan man. Lucy was told in a vision that her mother would be healed. Believing this, she told her mother to distribute their riches and the patrimony. When …

The First Week of Advent

Collect: Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen. Monday, December 3: Channing Moore Williams Channing Moore Williams was born in Richmond, VA in 1829 and was brought up by his widowed mother in poverty. After being ordained deacon in 1855, he offered himself for missionary work in China. In 1859, Japan was opened to the West and Williams was sent as the first Episcopal missionary. In 1866, he was consecrated  Missionary Bishop of China and Japan. Being spread too thin because of the geographical size of his ministry, his work was slow going. So, …

Advent Hymns & Carols (One Per Day)

Six years ago, I was about to begin my first journey through the church year. It was a bit intimidating, because while I was an Anglican newbie, I was also also the parish music director and administrator (our background made this slightly less crazy — slightly). So, I was busy planning Advent hymnsings for our congregation — mostly because I needed to learn the hymns myself. But, despite being in over my head, it was such a joy to get to immerse myself in the great tradition of Advent hymnody. I think one of the most simple, yet powerful ways to keep Advent is to save up the traditional Christmas music for the twelve days. But, to do that, you really need Advent music to fill the gap– music that immerses you in the waiting, longing, and mystery of the season. These hymns have become some of my favorites of all the year. Most (but not all) of these hymns can be found in the standard hymnals (1940 or 1982). Because I’m not a complete …

Sunday Next Before Advent (Christ the King)

Collect: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Feast Days and Saints Days: Christ the King Sunday Instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, Christ the King Sunday is a relatively new feast day. On this day, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we see the culmination of the church year in a celebration of Christ as the King of all. Pope Pius described the importance of this feast: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He …

Advent Plans

This year, our family is going to take advantage of our Homely Hours preparation and posts from the last two years. Here is how that will look: Jesus Tree Ornament.  Bley designed these beautiful ornaments (pictured above) several years ago.  I printed them out last year in card stock, hole punched the top and added red yarn to hang on our Christmas tree. We’ll do this as part of our family’s little evening prayer time. Additionally, we’ll use our church’s Advent Wreath prayers at dinner time. St. Nicholas Day We may use Bley’s adorable St. Nicholas Day Treat Bags. We’ll see if I can get that together. But I do plan to buy my girls Christmas shoes and fill them with the traditional gifts: gold chocolate coins I snagged at Trader Joe’s, a candy cane, and a clementine. I’ll probably buy The Baker’s Dozen to read and, I’ll definitely print out Michelle’s Advent Saints Coloring Pages. St. Lucy In addition to those coloring pages, last year I printed out two copies of the St. Lucy Crown Printable. …

Advent Saints Coloring Pages

Are you looking for a simple way to incorporate some feast day celebrations into your Advent this year?  One of our parish members, Michelle, has created these lovely coloring pages for you to print as you will and enjoy with your family.  We are currently in the midst of a very busy season in the life of our family, so this will be about the extent of our feast day observances this year.  I look forward to joining my children in some quiet coloring time!  Thank you again, Michelle! StNicholasColoring StLucyColoring  

Our Favorite Christmas Books

1)      The Friendly Beasts—Tomie  dePaola Tomie dePaola beautifully illustrates a classic Christmas carol.  His book is a celebration of the joy surrounding Christ’s birth.  The full song with notes is included in the back. 2)      The Story of Christmas by Pamela Dalton   Pamela Dalton uses cut-paper artwork, a folk art tradition of Pennsylvania German origin, to bring the Nativity to life.  Her delicate, detailed pictures are pure magic. 3)      Cranberry Christmas—Wende Devlin This book follows the delightful Cranberry Thanksgiving, an absolute favorite in our house.  Set in a small town near the edge of a cranberry bog in New England, this book carries the spirit of Christmastide with its vintage style pictures and warm characters.  It even includes a recipe for Christmas cookies on the back. 4)      Cricket at the Manger ~ Edith Hope Fine—Illustrated by Winslow Pels A retelling of Christ’s birth from the vantage point of a tiny cricket.  Surprisingly, it is both whimsical and reverent; the story does not dilute into a “cutesy” Christmas story.  Instead, with rhythmic prose, this sweet …

“The Great O Antiphons” with New Printable Ornaments

Singing or reading the Great “O” Antiphons in the week leading up to Christmas has become a lovely tradition of my own that I try to observe during Advent.  This year, I plan to print these images that I painting last year, and make them into ornaments with my kids.  I share them here in case you would like to do the same. As part of our Advent devotions, we will likely cut these out, and someone will write the accompanying verse and plea on the back.  Then we will hang it on our tree, alongside the Jesus Tree ornaments we have read.  Simple, short, but a way to continue to look forward to our Savior’s arrival.  And if in the madness of life we don’t do it this year, we will try again next year. The Great O Antiphons Ornaments