A message from Melissa Smith, Director of Family ministry

Dear Parents,

 

I don’t know about you, but the influx from Cyber Friday week, Cyber Monday and Thankful Tuesday in my inbox alone has reminded me of my great need and longing for the Advent season!

 

For some of you newer to the Anglican traditions of Christianity, this may be your first Advent to share as a family.  Our CTR Advent Devotional is a great guide.

 

Advent is a time to wonder and reflect with hopeful expectation of Jesus’ coming.  The word Advent simple means “to come.”  In the readings, collects (a fancy word for specific prayer used in church calendar) and hymns, we journey back to the time of waiting for the Messiah in Jesus’ first coming, we reflect on our own journey to Christ in our lives and we journey forward to the anticipatory awaiting of Jesus’ second coming.

 

In Worship & Wonder, we share that the mystery of Christmas is so important that it takes us, as the church, four weeks of Advent  prepare.

 

How to share Advent as a family?

  • Be intentional to slow down and make it a simple time.  Advent is quite counter-cultural in the ramped up busyness of the holiday season. Give yourself much grace in this endeavor.
  • Select one or two activities significant for your family’s spiritual preparation and rhythm during Advent. There are many great practices for the Advent season; we can’t do them all.
  • Don’t jump too quickly to the celebration of Christmas.  Savor Advent first. (There are actually 12 days of Christmas starting Dec. 25th and the celebration of Epiphany on Jan 6th .)


ADVENT FOR FAMILIES

St Nicholas Day – December 6th

St Nicholas was the bishop of Myra (in modern day Turkey) during the 4th century.  He was known for his devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and his generosity in giving to the poor. There are many stories and traditions told about him. He has been told to have anonymously thrown gold coins into a poor family’s window to provide for their daughters’ dowries.  The coins landed in stockings that were hung to dry.  Hence, the beginning of gifts left secretly in stockings. St Nicholas was apparently also present at the Council of Nicea when the Nicene Creed was formed.  Children around the world leave their shoes out on the eve of St Nicholas’ Day in hopes of receiving candy or treats.

 

Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree tells the redemptive story of Jesus Christ through symbols from the Old and New Testament. The symbols represent people, prophecies and events from the Scriptures. The Jesse tree is a family tree of Jesus. A Jesse Tree can be a simple bare branch, a bough of greenery, an evergreen tree, or it can be displayed in other creative ways.  There are typically 28 symbols as ornaments to accommodate for the variable number of days in Advent.  The Jesse Tree is adorned with an ornament each day of Advent in an order that unfolds the narrative of Scripture from Creation to the birth of Jesus.  There are slight variations of the selected symbols and Scripture passages chosen for Jesse Trees. Often a Scripture passage will be read accompanying each ornament.  For families with young children, a Jesse Tree is a wonderful tactile way to explore and interact with the Scriptures, not just at Advent! Families can also make the ornaments together, whether paper, felt or wood.

 

A FEW ONLINE RESOURCES

Advent: A Rookie Anglican Guide at Anglican Pastor

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day: the Historical Santa Claus Tsh Oxenreider

Sacred Ordinary Days Advent Resources

One source for Jesse Tree Ornaments


With expectant joy,

Melissa