16 December 2007

Third Sunday of Advent, 2007.

advent candles 3

Tonight we give thanks for the animal kingdom. The children will each place a small animal on the nature table/nativity scene. One year a giraffe was chosen, but as the children have got older they’ve got the gist of what’s expected. (I do like that scene in Love Actually where Emma Thompson’s daughter announces she has the part of the lobster at the nativity play and when her mother asks if shellfish were present at the birth of the baby Jesus, she rolls her eyes and says Well duh, Mum).

We will light the third candle and say the verse,

The third light of Advent,
it is the light of beasts.
The light of hope that we may see
In greatest and in least.

Each year someone asks in the comments whether I made up these Advent verses.

No I didn’t. Our Advent tradition is Waldorf/Steiner inspired, with one or two touches that we have adapted for our family. The verses were found several years ago on a website which now seems to have disappeared. It was called QuolKids (Quality of Life for Kids) and one of the two women who maintained the site was a Steiner teacher.

I find that celebrating Advent this way has helped to counteract the awful, omnipresent, consumerist nature of Christmas, helping our children (and us!) remember the spiritual nature of this season. I also like the way it honours nature and the universe.

Our boys run to check out the nativity scene every morning (ok, maybe not the thirteen year old these days) to see if anything has appeared, and in the final week when Joseph and Mary appear and move a little closer to the stable each day the sense of anticipation builds and builds. I’m delighted that most Christmas mornings they check out whether the baby Jesus has materialised in his seedpod crib before they look to the tree for presents.

And then just when you think it’s all over, a few days later the three wise men show up (too late to be of use during the birth and rather bizarrely bearing weird gifts of incense and myrrh rather than casseroles or a voucher for a month of nappy delivery) and you get a bit more bang for your buck.

Happy Advent.


fifi said...

What an absolutely delightful tradition...I would love to use this. It is always wonderful to counteract the horrors of consumer-mas-I mean christmas.
Especially having just returned from the mall with about three months of wages blown on nonsense.

h&b said...

I really like the thought of Joseph and Mary moving closer to the stable and may come back to this idea in years to come ( at the moment, I can see Joseph being 'nicked' to drive a helicopter or ute .. )

I also liked that scene from Love, Actually ... ;)

blackbird said...

and Happy Advent to you too...

Jerry & Maxy said...

Such a special tradition. My parents did not do quite the same thing, probably because one of us was playing with the nativity scene, but it was exciting when baby Jesus arrived. I like your pillar candles in red rather than the tapers my Mum used.

Joke said...

I'm with H&B on the Mary & Joseph move.


P.S. Don't forget that one of the Three Wise Men brought gold.

Poppy & Mei said...

This is great!
I've been wondering whether to include a nativity scene in our celebrations.
It's a toss up at the momment of using one or dispensing with the whole Christmas thing all together & just celebrating solstice.
I'd love to read more about your Advent adventures...

BabelBabe said...

this may be heresy but Love Actually may be my favorite Christmas movie. I watch it every year.

I LIKE the idea of a giraffe at the Nativity I mean, why the hell not? It's a Christmas miracle!

bluemountainsmary said...

Love Actually is one of those movies I can watch again and again.

I think I may have said that other than for a wooden Advent calendar (the ritual of placing little wooden toys on tiny hooks does appeal to the kids) we don't particularly mark Advent.

We do have a nativity into which our eldest places the baby on Christmas Eve.

Again Suse it has been a delight to read your own family rituals. Thank you for sharing.

Pen said...

Hello, I'm new to your blog, but I have to say that maybe myrrh is the equivalent of those bath products that people without children give to new mothers so that they can spoil themselves, but the mothers never get a chance to do it because they are tired and busy all the time.

Poor wise men, to come so far for such little benefit.