Observing Advent at Home: The Season of the Nativity

This post is part three on a series about observing the season of Advent at home. The first post in this series explored the Magnificat, and the second encouraged families to spend Advent searching for the baby Jesus.

Over the past several years, I have followed Sybil MacBeth’s blog on Praying in Color. In seminary, I was introduced to the practice of praying in color and, never one to sit still for long, found it helpful in focusing on the task at hand–thanksgiving, intercession, and praise. Ever since, I have enjoyed the opportunity to share this approach, most recently with our Middle School Church School group or as one option for teachers to choose in Elementary Church School classes.

Recently, while perusing MacBeth’s blog in search of some Advent ideas, I learned that she was releasing a book, The Season of the Nativity: Confessions and Practices of an Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Extremist, just in time for Advent. Last month when the book was released, I purchased a copy. When it arrived, I was immediately captivated. Written accessibly with a colorful, magazine-style layout, the book is packed with reflections about and ideas for how to observe the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany seasons. Some of the activities–a good deeds manger, Advent wreath, or Advent calendar–will be familiar to most readers, while offering a fresh take. Other suggestions–selecting Advent words for family prayer, bringing the words of Scripture to life through body movements, or filling a tree with purple lights–are less likely in a family’s traditional repertoire, and provide reflective, fun ways to focus the season on the gift of Christ.

The ideas in this book seem endless and do-able, without overwhelming the few hours of free-time families have together.

I finished reading the book in one evening and found it so enjoyable that I purchased five copies for parish families to borrow. This Sunday, they will be available at the Advent Wreath Intergenerational event. Afterward, they will find a permanent home on the “parent resources” shelf of the Christian Education Library (located in the while cabinet in the commons) available for check-out alongside our children’s titles. Go here for a closer look at the book. Also check out an interview with Sybil MacBeth from the Patheos Book Club and her corresponding article, “Five Ways to Experience an Extreme Advent.”

Come back later this week for more ideas on Observing the Advent season at home.

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