Thinking About Advent, Family Traditions and Rhythms of Life

Advent begins a week from today. The past few years, before I had a child, I really enjoyed celebrating each of the different seasons of the church calendar, but since becoming a mom all of that went out the window. My mind and heart were pretty absorbed with just figuring out how to do life with a new baby. I had little to no motivation to do anything special beyond just getting dinner on the table. Lately though as my hormones finally start to stabilize again, as my son get’s a bit older and more interested in the external world, and as I begin to get more sleep and have more energy, I find myself longing for ways to observe the changing seasons in the natural world and in my spiritual heart. I find myself longing for traditions, and rituals and routines (something I’ve never been very good at in the past). I think often about what sort of family traditions I want my child to grow up with. I recently read a blog post from Holy Experience about living a celebrated life and bringing beauty and ceremony into the everyday. It really inspired me. I want my son to grow up with the security and comfort that comes from regular, predictable, times of celebration and beauty as well as the surprise moments of celebration. I want him to grow up with a sense of being part of a deep rhythm of life. We are part of a natural rhythm and part of a spiritual rhythm as well and I want him to know that. God himself initiated a structure and rhythm to life when he gave us the gift of the Sabbath as well as the gift of the changing seasons of nature. I want my son to grow up feeling these changes deep in his soul. I want a day of Sabbath, I want seasons of planting, working, harvesting and resting. I want seasons of remembering Jesus’ birth, life and death.

I long for a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm, a monthly and seasonal rhythm.

As Advent begins, and I find myself once again at the start of a new liturgical year, I’m thinking a lot about what kinds of rhythms and traditions I want to start in my family. How do I want my son to experience seasons? How do I want him to learn about and enter into the liturgical seasons? How do I want him to celebrate and encounter various holidays? Which holidays do I want to make particularly special and how do I want to do that?

It all starts with Advent… how do I want my son to grow up experiencing Advent?

These are all questions I have right now, but I’m not sure I really have answers for them yet. I think that’s ok though, since my son is only 14 months old. But, I do want to be intentional even this year about starting to create some traditions and rituals for our family moving forward.

So, what do you do to celebrate Advent? If you have kids I’m particularly interested to hear how you engage in Advent with them. Please share!

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman