One of the things we are using Advent for is to build tradition. We are very blessed to have lived the majority of our lives (all but our year and a half in Germany) near our families. So, Christmas is spent celebrating with everyone, and I love it. But it has also been hard for us to begin our own traditions, to define what Christmas looks like for us. So even though this will be our 15th Christmas as a married couple and our 12th as parents, in many ways I feel like we are still sorting this out.
We tried for a few years to do our own little Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. But since we already have two other Christmas celebrations and admittedly it’s more fun to open presents with larger groups, we’ve cut back on that a bit. Now I’m trying to concentrate a little more on the whole season of Advent to build our own traditions, and this has the added benefit of helping us keep the important parts of Christmas more in focus.
I shared our little Advent tree last year when we started it, but here’s another picture in case you missed it. I had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find the tree even though I was positive I’d packed it in Germany. But John produced it in seconds. I still haven’t asked him where he found it. The ornaments are hand-embroidered, but pretty simple. We add one each night when we read the corresponding Bible story. This year we are using Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift for our readings. I haven’t decided which I like better, just reading the passages straight from the Bible or reading her narrative. But it’s fun to have some variety.
I wanted to also share with you another everyday year round tradition we started since this is about finding beauty in the everyday, not just in the Christmas season, but I’ll save it for tomorrow so this doesn’t get too long. Thank you to all who have been reading these posts and letting me know that they are meaningful to you. Please feel free to share your own moments of beauty in the comments.