Advent: The power of rituals

In our family, we’ve developed an annual routine of pulling out the decorations, lights, Christmas music, and get the whole house into the seasonal vibe – all at one time, in one day. And the day is filled with laughter, food, and the wonderful moments of remembering different Christmas memories with family and friends, moments of recalling who made this ornament or which pet ate that one.  And this all happens on the first weekend of Advent. And it’s at that time – and not before – that the Christmas CD’s come out and get into high rotation. This annual family event is highly anticipated by our children. So much so, that they can hardly stand it. So much so, that they have broken into the Christmas music a few weeks early, cranking Bruce Cochburn and Harry Connick Jr’s yuletide offerings far, far too early!

And yet, I love their anticipation for the big day, and doing what they can to catch a glimpse of what is to come. And it’s through the efforts of developing this ritual that has made this day so significant for our family.

Rituals come in all shapes and sizes. They can be grand annual events or small repetitive moments during a period of a few weeks.  Rituals ground us, they give us a sense of regularity. And when we allow God to be present in our rituals, they become holy moments for families to reflect on God’s hand in their lives. And it’s it’s important that we consider how we might make our existing Advent and Christmas rituals moments of faith-nurture for our family, or consider starting new rituals or traditions.

Advent Prophecy Boxes are a great way to open gifts each day, each with an object and a scripture verse.  Check out the detailed instructions here.

“Elf On A Shelf” has become a huge success over the past few years, and it’s become an advent tradition for many families. If that’s you, why not consider giving your elf new marching orders this year.

Music is one of the more important Christmas rituals in our home. While there are great advent songs and hymns, there are few full advent albums. However, Rain For Roots has just released an advent album entitled Waiting Songs. Here are my two favourites from this album:

Other than that, finding other great “waiting songs” are more typically found in Christmas or seasonal albums. Check out these gems!

(and I’m going to throw this one in, just because it’s fun)

What are your family Christmas and Advent rituals? How might they be transformed to become holy moments?

What are some of your favourite Christmas or Advent songs or albums that are a part of your seasonal rituals?

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