Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Attitudes to Christmas 3: What about Advent?

on November 30, 2012

This is the third and final part of my mini-series on Christmas, which began on Wednesday and continued yesterday. Today I’m looking at Advent, and how I celebrate it, in the light of my feelings about Christmas.

What about Advent?
To me, Advent seems a more exclusively Christian season than Christmas, which is bound up with so many other influences, but the principle remains the same: nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to spend 24 days thinking about Jesus’ arrival into the world, but we are very much encouraged to look forward to his return and live in the light of that (2 Peter 3:10-13; Hebrews 10:24-25), and again it makes sense, in addition to incorporating this into our daily lives, to have time to focus on it. When the season of Advent was introduced by the church, the purpose was to prepare for and look forward to Jesus’ second coming by commemorating his first coming, and in our family Advent Bible readings we try to make sure that we read and talk about Jesus’ return as well as the more familiar nativity passages and Old Testament prophecy.

Advent is lovely because it brings its sense of anticipation and excitement. When we get bogged down with day-to-day life things like the leaking window, or how we’re going to arrange to pick up 2 children from different places at the same time, we can easily lose sight of anticipating Christ’s return, and Advent is a chance to remind ourselves. (If you want to rekindle the excitement, read Revelation 22 – it always works for me!).

There are so many things about Advent that I love, like candles (gives an actual point to the gloomy darkness which starts before we get home from school!) and Advent Carols (lyrically much more beautiful than the Christmas ones, in my opinion) and sitting down as a family to read the Bible every day (as my children have grown older, Bible reading has become more of an individual activity so it’s lovely to do it all together, when we’ve lit the Advent candle)*. Most of what we do for Advent tends to be Jesus-focused, but not exclusively. We have an assortment of advent calendars and this year we’ll be using our usual Playmobil one, along with a couple of disposable ones and this year’s 10ofthose calendar which includes explanations of the various names Jesus is given in the Bible, as well as chocolate (!), and has accompanying activity sheets to download from the website. We also decorate the house for Christmas, of course – if you’ve been following a while you’ll know from last year how exciting I find this, and how I like to have the house seasonally titivated in time for my birthday on 7th December. We take part in the Christmas crafts day put on for children by our church and, if the holidays start early before Christmas (i.e. not this year because the schools don’t break up till 21st December), we go to a family production at Northern Stage or The Sage Gateshead, followed by a meal out.

Have a fun and blessed Advent, however you choose to celebrate it!

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* If you would like a copy of the passages I’ve chosen for this year’s Advent readings, they can be found here. I’m afraid I am not usually very imaginative when it comes to reading the Bible with my children (at other times we rely heavily on the Good Book Company‘s excellent age-appropriate material!) and we tend just to read the passages out loud, talk about what it teaches us about God and what we might learn from it, then pray. However, I’m considering working on something in time for next year which would have a bit more to it – please let me know if it’s something you’d be interested in.

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