O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

[This is a repost from last year that I wanted to share again. I would encourage you to celebrate Advent with your family, even if it is very, very simple.  I would also love to hear your Advent tradition, hopes, and plans.]

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. Sweet Pea was home for Thanksgiving, so she lit the Advent candle while we sang the first verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Our singing was followed by a short scripture reading. Traditionally the Advent wreath has three purple candles, one pink candle, and one white, each with its own special meaning. I’m learning to live with imperfection and be content, so my “wreath” is a candelabra with five white candles. It is still beautiful and makes me happy.

In this season of my life, it is best for me to keep everything simple. I could have gone to multiple stores searching for just the right candles, but I chose not to. I love tradition, but it is freeing to say it will be good even if it isn’t perfect.

If you have never celebrated Advent, or just haven’t gotten started yet this year, grab a candle and put it on your table, find a simple Advent reading schedule to follow, and start this evening. You can find Advent readings like these online:

Daily Readings For Advent

Celebrate Advent

Let’s determine to have a joyfully imperfect Advent season while loving our families and anticipating the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

How do you celebrate Advent?  I would love to hear from you.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

21 Comments

  1. Andrea H.
    November 30, 2009

    Beautiful table Lisa. I can't believe your are doing Advent. Isn't that so nice? I have known this tradition all my life from Germany and now brought it over into my own family.

    Reply
  2. ACK
    November 30, 2009

    So you start on the 30th. I thought that it started on the first of Dec see i learned something that i didnt know. Its nice to learn about different religons

    Reply
  3. Sophie Neri
    November 30, 2009

    Thanks so much for this post Lisa. What a beautiful way to celebrate the Holy season. I printed the Daily Lectionary Scripture References and can't wait to start with my family tomorrow. I love your blog, you've got such helpful ideas and advice.
    Blessings

    Reply
  4. Thankfulmom
    November 30, 2009

    I'm no expert, but I believe Advent always begins four Sundays before Christmas, and ends on Christmas Eve. Some years it begins in Dec. and some in Nov., as it does this year. To tell you the truth, I had to look it up last week because I wasn't sure when Advent began.

    Does anybody else want to chime in on this? Coffeemom? Laura? I know some of you know far more about the church calendar than I do.

    Lisa

    Reply
  5. Ericka
    December 1, 2009

    Lisa,
    your table and dining room are beautiful!
    We celebrate the four Sundays before ending on Christmas Eve also 🙂

    Reply
  6. Laura
    December 1, 2009

    It is my understanding that Advent is celebrated the four Sunday's before Christmas. I know at mass on Sunday they lit the first purple candle. In the Catholic church you use three purple and one pink candle–the pink is the third Sunday. Although, this year I have yet to find the "right" color candles and am just using white. We have had an advent wreath on our kitchen table ever since the chlidren were little, and I think my table would look undone without it. My children attended a Lutheran preschool where they made advent wreaths using five white candles; one was in the middle for Christmas Eve.

    Reply
  7. Christine Sine
    December 1, 2009

    Thanks for linking to my post with the Advent readings. I love your blog and the idea of using your candelabra instead of an Advent wreath is a great one. You may also be interested in the Advent video that I produced this year http://godspace.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/the-coming-of-the-lord-is-near-advent-meditation-video-2009/And if you would be interested in providing a reflection for the series What Are We Waiting for This Advent Season let me know You can check it out here http://godspace.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/advent-is-coming-will-you-join-me/
    Many blessings on you during this season

    Reply
  8. Susan
    December 2, 2009

    I love this post. We celebrate Advent at our home too, and this post is a lovely help to me (I sometimes let the details get in the way of what's really important).

    🙂 Susan

    Reply
  9. jamie k
    November 28, 2010

    we are actually doing http://www.aholyexperience.com/ (jesse tree) and then since our kids are only 4 (twins) and a 1 yr old. we are doing the hands on http://www.amazon.com/What-God-Wants-Christmas-Br

    i'm super excited!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 28, 2010

      Jamie, thank you for mentioning this. I just went to the site and subscribed to her email list in order to get a free download of her Jesse Tree devotional. We haven't done a Jesse Tree in years, but I'm going to read through the e-book and see what we can do to enrich our Advent time.

      Reply
  10. aarsethfamily
    November 28, 2010

    We just finished our advent time together. Normally we do it during dinner but we had some plans to be out tonight. So instead after bath time (our kids are 3 and 2) I made apple cider and some short bread cookies and we sat together singing and reading a few bible passages. We try to pick out a few things out of the passages to explain to our kids. Tonight, since we are lighting the prophet's candle and reading prophecy verses, we talked about what a prophet was and how they told people all about Jesus even before he was born. We really enjoy this time together making Christmas time not about everything they see in the stores but about what truly matters.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 28, 2010

      Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing how your family is observing Advent.

      Reply
  11. Joelle Holland
    November 28, 2010

    Beautiful ideas. Just had a discussion with my husband's Aunt and Uncle on traditions (my husband is not a real big traditions fan). I think the final consensus was that when we do things consistently that our kids can take away some part of (even if they change things to work for who they are) we are building something important. We haven't done Advent consistently in awhile but this year we plan to follow a simple book that shares the meanings behind the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve days before Christmas we plan to do something special each day for a family whose husband/father is in Iraq. Not Advent perse but I believe it conveys the spirit of Advent by sharing Emmanuel's love with someone who needs to be thought of during this season.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 28, 2010

      Joelle, that is a beautiful idea and it speaks to the love of Christ. If He had not come, our lives would not have been transformed and renewed.

      Reply
  12. coffeemom
    November 29, 2010

    LOVE LOVE advent. We do the advent wreath, lighting it every night for dinner. We've done many others over the years w/ the kids but that is the one that is unchanging, ever. I love advent. I personally do other things (daily office: morning prayer/evening/night) but otherwise, that's the big one for us. We have to keep it simple in this hectic season. Lovely table. No surprise!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 29, 2010

      We celebrated the first Sunday of advent at breakfast this year – something we've never done before. I knew I could count on you, my Catholic friend, to celebrate advent.

      Reply
  13. Heidi
    November 29, 2010

    I am loving celebrating advent with my 3 1/2 year old this year. Life has a new look through his perspective. And it is good to break down things like advent to a level that he understands. How amazing that advent really is so simple, and yet so miraculously wonderful. This year we have an advent wreath on the table (made from plastic ivy and votive candles in holders), an advent calendar, and a paper chain to count down to Christmas. We are talking about how special the advent (coming) of Jesus to earth is and how we look forward to celebrating that. I also want to talk about how we look forward to His coming again.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 29, 2010

      Heidi, so nice to hear from you. Dimples is still loving her weighted blanket and sleeps with it every night. I'm so glad you are enjoying advent with your little guy – isn't it great the way children give us the opportunity to enjoy so many special things, even ones that we may have missed in our own childhoods.

      Reply
  14. Emily
    November 29, 2010

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Advent! It is my favorite part of the year. In fact, I just posted about it this morning. I love how much beauty and life surrounds your table. I am so thankful that there is someone else out there who values 'good' if not 'perfect.' It has taken me too long to learn.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      November 29, 2010

      Emily, isn't it nearly a relief to come to the point of realizing that if we wait for perfect, it will never happen?! I want my kids to love advent and Jesus!

      Reply
      1. Emily
        December 1, 2010

        Amen to that!

        Reply

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