By Mike Littleton
The observance of Advent is still a relatively new practice for me and my family.
I grew up in a home that didn’t observe Advent. It wasn’t that we intentionally avoided it, we just didn’t really know about it.
I didn’t experience an emphasis on the Advent season in a local church until after I’d been a Christian for nearly 12 years. The churches I grew up in placed a lot of emphasis on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but Advent was never mentioned.
My first real exposure to Advent was when Abby and I moved to the south end of Seattle. We were members of Taproot Church Burien and our pastor took the church through a legitimate Advent series. We didn’t do any of the more traditional wreathe and candle-lighting stuff (more on that in the next post), but we did work through the traditional topics of love, joy, hope, and peace.
But I didn’t know how to emphasize the Advent season in my home–or even that I should possibly consider doing such a thing–until my wife and I saw our pastor and his family emphasize it in their home. I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but we were at their house and they told us about how they gathered the whole family together every night to sing a song or two, talk about the coming of Jesus, and light candles they had placed in their front window. They would light the number of candles which corresponded with the day of the month.
Though I still didn’t really grasp what Advent was all about, what Abby and I learned that Advent season has made a lasting impact on our family. Every year since we’ve made some sort of an attempt to emphasize and observe the entire Advent season in anticipation of Christmas Day. It’s become such a part of what we do as a family that our kiddos look forward to observing Advent just as much as Christmas Day itself.
The Advent season is now just under a month away. Over the next week or two, I’m going to write a couple posts about what Advent is, some of the things my family has done, and what our plans are for Advent this year.
In the meantime, what has your experience with Advent been? Does your family observe Advent and if so how? I’d love to hear some feedback.