Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Grinch Can't Cancel Christmas

For Orthodox Christians, the second Sunday of Advent is almost here (we celebrate 40 days of Advent, with six Sundays as opposed to four), so we started our journey well before Thanksgiving! 

Across the U.S. we are still in various stages of COVID and feelings regarding lockdown.  Especially here in California, where cases are up and deaths are way down, we are sadly expecting not to be allowed to gather in our homes with large extended families and friends for Thanksgiving, or in our churches for our Advent and possibly even Christmas services - even if we are healthy, wear masks, and practice physical distancing of six feet, as we've been asked to.

But even if our governor(s) make these decisions and end up cancelling Christmas services, this time of continued isolation is a good reminder that our homes are all little domestic churches, and there are so many things you can still do to make this a joyful season for your children!  

If you haven't had time in the past to make an effort for family Advent traditions at home, this is definitely the year to start! So, what can you do to help your kids enter into Advent and the Incarnation of Christ?


Last week, I gathered candles for my six-candle Advent Wreath [Note: a seventh white candle will be placed in the middle of the wreath, to be lit on Christmas Day.] 

This is a tradition I learned from a book by Fr. Anthony Coniaris (of blessed memory), Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home. I highly recommend the book, which is in its 13th printing.

"The circle (wreath) is a symbol for God who is eternal. The evergreen branches symbolize eternal life, or the life of God, of which Jesus came to make us partakers. The candles represent Christ who is the light of the world. The color of each candle expresses something special that will be discussed each week of Advent as the family celebration unfolds. One candle will be lit each week by a different member of the family." 

Father Coniaris outlines a family devotion time for each of the Sundays of Advent, including Scripture readings, prayers, Christmas carols, and topics for discussion, all based upon the meaning of the candle colors. 

The basic meaning of each candle color follows, together with a brief statement for the head of the family to read when lighting the candle - you can find this adapted here if you need the Sunday Advent readings (but I highly recommend the book for great ideas all year long):
https://www.st-philip.net/files/Bulletins%20plus/Advent-Wreath.pdf .


Go to my Advent and Christmas Resource Page for lots of ideas of how to make your family reading time special for all 40 days of Advent (or you can simplify the idea to all 25 days of December). 

Need Christmas book recommendations?  You'll find all mine here, 

I pray you have a blessed Advent. Stay healthy: pray, sing, exercise, breath fresh air, take your vitamins, eat right, keep washing those hands, hug your kids. And if you are high risk, health-compromised, or have been exposed to sickness, be safe and stay isolated to avoid - or avoid spreading - illness (Covid included) this holiday season.  

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