I actually have four amazing and wonderful Advent traditions to list, though the fourth is not so much a tradition per se' as a fact of life.
1. The Advent Wreath
When I'm really on the ball, I actually have our wreath up and ready to go before the first Sunday of Advent. When I'm really behind, I'll get it up before Advent is half-way through. This year, I'm not quite on the ball, but not completely off it, either; I actually found the wreath, got the candles and put the whole thing together this morning with the candle holders (that I had to buy at Michael's last night because I couldn't find the ones we usually use...). So now we're ready to roll. We'll light the candle/s for each week at dinner time, and pray these prayers each Sunday of Advent
2. The St. Andrew Novena
Every November 30th begins the 26 day Nativity Novena. Every day, we repeat the following prayer fifteen times. We do five with our morning prayers, five with our prayers before meals at both lunch and dinner. The words are lovely, I think, and it keeps us perpetually in mind of "the reason for the season."
Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold At that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayers and grant my petitions, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen
3. The Advent Calendar
This is not the Advent calendar I had in mind for this year, but it was left over, unused from last year and turned up in our Christmas bins just when we needed it, so I guess it's the one we'll be using. It has nice, traditional paintings for each daily window, and a corresponding Bible verse, which is nice. It will suffice. (Here's the one I really wanted, but it was a little pricey and we already have one, so... =sigh= we'll do without it this time around.) We also have a Victorian Christmas village, where you add a stick-on house or building for each day of the month. That one hasn't turned up yet, though... (See #4 to see why...)
4. The Mess of Preparation
We have a barn full of bins -- and cows and dust... Our bins are not arranged as systematically and efficiently as I would wish, but are, how shall we say -- a big, humongous jumble of disorder... So, it is with satisfaction that I can announce that we have, indeed, found the Nativity Set and most of our other decorations. But, I have yet to be able to go through them and make sense of any of it. I only have two weeks to get it all together, though -- (Agh!) -- because I'm going to Virginia on the 12th to stay with Paul and Nicole and my new grandbaby (Gavin James!) for a week before I drive back to Colorado with Paul, arriving home only three days before Christmas! So, folks, I have to have Christmas completely done and organized in 11 days. Can I do it?? (I really don't know, but I'm gonna try!)
** More Notes on another important Advent activity -- our Nativity Scene -- when I get a chance... But you can see by the above picture that it might be a couple days until I can get to it. Please have patience with me as I may be scarce over here for a bit. I will continue to post the Spiritual Steps to Christmas, though! I've committed to that one, and have every intention of finishing it through. (Pray for me!)
Blessed First Wednesday of Advent, Friends!