Advent: it’s all about rituals

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent!

The word “Advent” comes from Latin; it means “coming” or “arrival.” Advent signals that Christmas is coming. Christmas is of course, based on the fact that God arrived on earth as a baby, Jesus. Advent gives us all-important time to prepare to re-celebrate Christ’s coming.

So, what sort of preparations are needed?

How about this one: Have you taught your kids to set the table?  (The fork always goes on the left.)  Setting the table is like a ritual.  (It would look backwards if the fork were on the right!)

a child sets the dinner table

Why are rituals so important to us?

Rituals and traditions are repeated activities that help family members develop a sense of belonging; they connect us together and they connect us to God! During this Advent season, set a different kind of table in your home.  Make time for rituals that help your children prepare for the coming celebration of Christmas.

Here’s an idea: put together a simple Advent wreath.

Traditionally they are made of greenery but that isn’t critical; just set up 4 candles in a circle. (The round shape of an Advent wreath is a reminder of the never-ending love that God has for you and your family.) Starting tomorrow and all next week, daily light one candle over your meal shared with your family. Can’t all be there for dinner? How about over breakfast or over a bedtime snack?

Use your Advent wreath as a way to spark faith conversation.

Print a copy of your Advent Wreath discussion guide.

Spend time as a family talking about other ways you’ll prepare to welcome the celebration of Jesus in your life. Need more ideas? Click here for a great resource from the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship. It also includes things that you can do and discuss over your daily Advent candle lighting.


Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Setting the table by Kitty Ireland, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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