Advent for Families

This Sunday is New Year’s Day for Christians, the first Sunday of Advent. I am the Director of Children’s Ministries at our church, All Souls Anglican Church ( Yesterday, I sent out some ideas to our parishioners regarding how families might celebrate the Advent Season. I though y’all might enjoy them too.

At All Souls, we embrace the rhythm of the Church Year. This Sunday is Advent I, the first Sunday of the Church Year. If you are interested in helping your family walk through this season of waiting, we have some suggestions for you. Advent can be a simple season of waiting and enjoying the quiet before the festivities of Christmas. So, in that spirit, take what you like. Leave what won’t work for you or your family. File some away for another day or another year. Enjoy!

Have you ever seen a Jesse Tree? If you’ve ever been to All Souls, you have … though you may not know it. During Advent 2009, a Jesse Tree arrived at All Souls, on the table in the Narthex. Ours is made of bare branches that feature the addition of an ornament each day from December 1-25. The ornaments tell of the genealogy of
Jesus, the story of salvation history. There are many ways to do Jesse Trees. Some ornaments are made of paper, simple copied drawings. Others, like at All Souls, are hand-crafted treasures. I can recommend a lovely Jesse Tree book that offers Scripture and text to accompany the placing of the ornaments: The Advent Jesse Tree, by Dean Lambert Smith. If you’d like to get started with a Jesse Tree and you want to do it this week, your simplest plan might be this one, from this Mom’s fun blog. You can download a pdf of little paper ornaments and get started in about 15 minutes.

You might also enjoy the resources available through Liturgy Training Publications. This Catholic publishing house, located in Chicago, offers several Advent calendars, a lovely devotional book of reflections for the season, and a fun Build Your Own Bethlehem that families may enjoy building together!

One of our family’s Advent traditions is reading cumulatively each night from The Advent Book. Jack and Kathy Stockman originally created this beautiful book for their own children from Christmas cards their family had received over the years. This crafty family project has become one of our family’s most treasured Advent traditions. Perhaps you might enjoy it too!

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