Here in North Central Texas the weather is predicted to be a balmy 80 degrees today - close to a record! We have already been outside riding bikes and playing. It will turn cool again for Christmas, which will be nice. Christmas always feels weird when it is 70 degrees. But for the moment, we are enjoying shorts and sun!
We decorated our tree this past Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Advent.
Every year, ArtGuy and I try to find an answer to the question, "How do we keep from getting too caught up in the commercialism of Christmas?". Personally, Advent is my absolute, hand-down favorite church season. I love the music, the liturgy, the rites, the beauty, the quiet hopefulness, everything. But how to translate it into the home? Well, we have done something a little different every year.
This year was our favorite way of keeping Advent alive, and one we agree is now a family tradition. Way back in Lent, I believe, a fellow homeschooler, Kathi Boor, shared one Advent idea - put the Christmas tree out at the beginning of Advent, but decorate it all in purple (the liturgical Advent color), as long as you can basically stand it.
|Advent tree all dressed up in purple!|
So, we did! The first Sunday of Advent, right after Thanksgiving, we brought out our pre-lit tree (nothing live and breathing this year!), and plugged it in. Over the next week, the boys made purple decorations and hung them up. We have been able to enjoy the beautiful lit tree every day of Advent, but the absolutely beautiful purple decorations reminded us that we were still preparing for Christmas - not there yet!
Let me tell you - there is little hardship in a gorgeous tree decorated in purple! Not that Advent is about hardship, anyway. All the purple has been a good way to remember.
But this past Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Advent, ALL the decorations came out. There is something moving about pulling off the purple and replacing it with colors and shapes and memories. Very symbolic!
|Cookie Boy untangles beads|
|Romeo assembles the Charlie Brown tree - one of ArtGuy's favs|
|The Mad Toddler mugs|
|I love my stinker!|
|The Young Adult deigned to take part in a family celebration|
|The Young Adult more enjoys the role of "supervisor"|
|"Let's take a family photo. How hard can it be?" Snicker....snicker...guffaw!|
|O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!|
The baking has begun, the house is in the process of being cleaned, the gifts are being wrapped, and our hearts are lightened as we look forward to the end of the week.
|chocolate and pretzel bark|
It does hit me, as I watch tv commercials, that the world has it all backwards! Advent is NOT Christmas, but everyone has been celebrating it for weeks now. So, as soon as Christmas day is over, everyone is kind of sick of the music, the food, the red-and-green. But the Church? Hah! The Church is just getting started! Having waited over four weeks, the Church pulls out all the stops until January 9, when the Baptism of the Lord ends the liturgical season of Christmas and begins Ordinary Time.
|There are 4 main food groups - candy, candy cane, candy corn, and maple syrup!|
|Time for our annual "Elf" viewing party!|