As much as Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, Advent is my favorite part of Christmas.
Once again from the file of “We never did this as a child so my family is GOING to do this,” lighting the candles on an Advent wreath was hit-or-miss growing up.
One year when I was six or seven in Sunday School, we made Advent wreaths.
They consisted of a six-inch square block of styrofoam, a few plastic holly springs and five birthday candles.
I LOVED IT.
Holding it betwixt my hands in church, I stared at all its little promise.
We never made them again. No styrofoam, no birthday candles, no holly. Year after year, I hoped we would make that silly little thing.
It never dawned on me that we could make our own.
Till I became an adult. We have one every year and have a devotion most every night. It’s probably the most our family sits down face-to-face — with nothing but a lighted candle and lighted Christmas tree between us — and talks.
I LOVE IT —->>> almost as much as that little block of styrofoam with teensy birthday candles.
* * *
This year our church held an Advent wreath making workshop.
This was wonderful…
a. Because more people in the world would now have the magic of an Advent wreath to share with their family.
b. Because I wouldn’t have to worry about making one.
This caused me angst. I would have to let go of all my years of making up for no teeny wreaths with birthday candles. I vowed to stand back and let my children construct their own.
Together. (This was immediately unpopular, but I stood firm.)
First, there was Family Night Supper.
Nothing says church like a lot of food.
Then the wreath crafting began in earnest.
Miss Kathleen was helping her daughter.
Lots of adults helped.
That wasn’t the point. I needed to let go and let my children create something imperfect and let it become my perfect Advent wreath.
I let them handle the glue gun all by themselves.
They all worked away.
One time a child by me (not my own) really needed help. I stopped and thought…this is not my child, I am not trying to make this perfect.
So I helped her. 🙂
Kathryn Cardwell was responsible for all this Advent goodness. It's nice that organized people like her can do this for clueless-moms-working-through-Advent-wreath-issues.
Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent.
We will light the first candle
from our perfect wreath.
Do you have Advent issues?
Issues or not…may the joy of a candle and conversation with loved ones make your holiday bright.
You don’t have to look far around this place to find inspiring women.
Meet Meg Ferrante.
I had spoken with her at triathlons, in superstore aisles and ….well, mostly we seem to bump into each other over shopping carts in Walmart. But I’ve gotten to know Meg much better through her blog Finding Advent in the Ordinary. (click to link to blog)
She’s the perfect woman to have an e-conversation with these last few days leading up to Christmas morning.
When did the blog start? Why?
Four years ago I attended a woman’s advent dinner designed to set the focus for the season. It changed the entire course of Christmas for me that year. I needed a bigger advent focus in my life to make the Christmas season more sane and more spiritual.
I was in a real rut because I set this standard for myself (homemade gifts, handwritten cards, the whole works) before having children that I tried to keep up. Not pretty. I was making a right miserable Christmas for myself.
The blog is affordable therapy. Ditto. By committing to it, it forces me daily to focus on the reason for the season. It’s only bonus that other people seem to get a lot out of it, too.
What do you do? What did you do in your former life?
In some form or another, I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been writing since the days of wet, smelly-ink mimeograph printing.I remember that stuff…you can’t possibly be that old.
My sister and I used to hand-write a neighborhood newsletter for kids. We had a lending library under our ping pong table and actually liked writing book reports about what we read.
It grew from there — editor of my high schoolnewspaper, journalism school, and lost-track-of-how-many-staff-newspaper-jobs since then. Career highlights include feature stories in Mothering and Lake Oconee Living magazines , a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed piece impressive and first place in the 2008 Georgia Press Association Features division. I also used to write/edit/design a mini-magazine called “Screamachine: the MamaCoaster Zine” that has a special place in my I-love-me file. Haven’t reached my ultimate goal — writing a novel — because I don’t know if I have the guts or the discipline. It’s this thing called a day. It only has 24 hours. If only we could function without sleep.
How do you find contributors for the blog?
I tapped into some of my zine crowd and most of my church crowd. Mostly though, if I send my mother-in-law an email, it goes to 439 of her closest friends and the job’s done!Aren’t mother-in-laws awesome.
It’s open to everyone… my motto is that the blog is “a group effort to hold off the crying children, beat back the worldly commitments, forget about the crazy job concerns and shut out other distractions to take a little time and meditate daily on the reason for the season.
What has surprised you about doing this?
Some completely random people have found the blog and started following it. I don’t advertise, optimize or monetize it so how have they come across it? It’s a small world on the web. Also, I’ve discovered that some of my non-writer friends are actually EXCELLENT writers. Sometimes when the spirit moves you, great things happen.
How have you “found advent?” How have you “met Jesus or met the baby” through the blog?
Like my house, my prayer life can be severely scattered. I’m a believer, but a seriously imperfect and inconsistent one. I go to the blog and for just a brief moment in time, I’m still with God. Sometimes, on those really inspirational days, I can actually *feel* the grace and love of His Son.
It’s so much better for me to do all this in writing than trying to do it in my highly distracted head! Your head seems right on. That’s from one who has intimate knowledge of a distracted head.
Thanks so much for taking time to chat, Meg. May you have a blessed Christmas and share my motto…a tidy house (and perfect blog typeset) is a sign of a misspent life.
I’ll look forward to getting to know you and your writing much better in 2011.
I’ve probably thrown away (or stepped on) the same amount. My son felt the little snow men a nice addition to the photo. He and his sister created those yesterday. They are always crafting. That’s why every material treasure in my house is
covered in paint and dried hot glue.
This is the time of the holiday season that I begin to burn out. An early swim helped, but any stress relieving benefits have long since worn off. I once again have a stiff neck and am saddled with a most attractive case of gogglitis.
But I pledge to enjoy these last few days.To be a kind, soft-spoken, cookie-baking mother. To breath deeply and keep centered on the Spirit.
We covered peace yesterday with the Woman of Faith. Going to post thought’s on Katie Anderson’a message tomorrow.
I want to be at peace these last days before Christmas.
Some one forwarded me this link saying they thought I “of all people” would appreciate this. Made me a bit jealousbecause someone is so very clever to come up with this. But they probably aren’t a wife, mother, neurotic mess.
Okay…they might be..but they’re just more clever than someone who is a wife, mother, neurotic mess and loves the baby Jesus.
The story of how he came. It’s all about the baby you know. Whether 2000 years ago or today.
Take time to watch a bit this. Trust me….I don’t post links to things that aren’t wonderful.
That’s where we sit to talk of important things. Last night it was the first Sunday of Advent.
I was the last one to arrive.
The candle was already lighted. This was surprising since I had not heard screaming and yelling — as in a fight erupting over who would light the candle.
First off..Hubby said something biblical. We talked about it. Then I thought it would be fun to add
Each night one person gets to think of “the question”. Last night’s question.
“What’s your most memorable Christmas gift ever?”
My teenager said his Playstation. This was such a surprise because for years I swore he would never get one.
The younger children both said the dog…
Husband going downstairs as a child to see a go-cart waiting.
And then me.
I can never think of my favorite gift.
What in the heck’s my problem?
This question always gets me. And funny thing is I can’t even come close to answering it. I guess might say the kitten hubby gave me our second Christmas. Though it really was like our first Christmas. Since on our first Christmas, we’d been married seven days.
This question is bothering me almost as much as the dream I had last night. And one I had less than a week ago. I wonder if the root of the bothersome favorite gift question is the root of those bothersome dreams?