Sunday, December 15, 2013

Living Advent: Tradition (and a Bit of Celebration)

Celebrating Luke's First Reconcilation
This week, we have continued to enjoy many of the activities with which we celebrated the first day of this liturgical new year:

We have also continued to weave our traditional Advent celebrations into daily life through such activities as:

This past week, we also enjoyd a few special events!

We kicked the week off with a Family Sabbath Day-Birthday combo, which had little direct connection to preparing our hearts for Christmas, but everything to do with celebrating blessings.  Our oldest turned eight and wanted to enjoy, Legos, knights and Japanese food together for his birthday.  So, that's exactly what we did!

Then, on Monday afternoon, we joined other homeschoolers in an event that I coordinated with a fabulously gifted woman from the local Self Help Inc. Coordinated Family and Community Engagement group.  She led us in an early learners peace-themed playdate which included playdough play, stories, songs, parachute play and making ornaments to bring smiles to needy families.

On Monday evening, we continued in the spirit of giving and fun by having the children help donate canned goods for a collection at Edaville Railroad’s Christmas Festival of Lights before enjoying our traditional outing there. 


Last year, we missed our annual trip to Edaville due to a belly bug.  This year, we did not want to miss it for anything since it was the ONE place that Luke said he wanted to be sure to go this season.

We’re so glad we listened.  It ended up being a relatively warm evening there, with no lines, loads of smiles and plenty of family fun!

Of course, after festivities all weekend and a very full Monday, by the time Tuesday came, our family was a bit wiped out.  So, while Mommy went off to a medical appointment, the children enjoyed time with Grammy.  Then, we all had a slow day of regular and Advent-themed learning before settling in to watch an animated version of A Christmas Carol and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey for family movie night, followed by a reading of the picture book, which we enjoy every year.

Wednesday and Thursday brought more life-as-usual – lessons, chores, work and simple Advent traditions.

Then, Friday, we joined other homeschoolers for a medieval Christmas workshop, complete with making Yule Logs, enjoying a mummery skit, creating a St. Francis nativity improv and “feasting” together at a lunch completed by spiced cider and mincemeat pie, too.

Then, as exhaustion and a winter bug hit the kids in the evening, we relaxed with a second family movie night (which is almost unheard of in our screen-limited home).  

Luke, Nina, Jack, Daddy and I enjoyed snuggling together to watch Samantha - An American Girl Holiday.  As we did, the children' empathy was evident in their facial expressions, questions and comments.  Indeed, I think I enjoyed watching my expressive kids watch the movie more than I enjoyed the movie myself. (Which is not to say the video was not a good one.  I liked it.  I just appreciated witnessing my children's understanding of values and virtues in relation to the video more.)

I also had to laugh when we were watching the extras on the DVD as a mini-history and culture lesson.  While doing so, Luke, our history lover, commented that the segment on women’s suffrage was the best part of the movie. 

Finally, we wrapped up the second week of Advent with a most special occasion – Luke’s First Reconciliation!

Our local parish had a simple, yet wonderful service for Luke and his peers, which Luke has been looking forward to all week.  I have no idea what he actually chose to confess, but can attest that it was so cute during the weeks leading up to yesterday’s First Reconciliation to hear Luke say, “Mommy, I’m sorry.  I will confess that.”  Our boy is clearly developing a greater understanding of “right” and “wrong” and understands the importance of the sacrament. We pray he (and his siblings!) never stray from their faith and the strength the sacraments can offer.
And so it is that as we head into this third week of Advent, we do so with thanksgiving, joy and anticipation.  So many blessings unfold every day and so many more await us.

How have you been keeping your focus on faith this Advent? 

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