Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent at the Henhouse

So what are we doing for Advent this year?

In the past, I have written about our Advent traditions, particularly as Anglicans trying to separate the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas.  We've done the Advent wreath, Advent candles and Advent calendars.  We've had Christmas trees, Jesse Trees, no tree until Christmas, and a tree decorated in Advent colors and changed to Christmas colors on Christmas Eve.  We've had Christmas music, and we've waited till Christmas (and the following twelve days) to enjoy Christmas carols.

Did I say "traditions?" It's been more like "let me count the ways."

This year, it's been back to basics. Both Mom and Dad are in energy conservation mode--our own, that is--so when we put up the tree, we decorated it for Christmas.  It just sounded like too much work to change the ornaments later on!  With no discussion, we went ahead and put out the Christmas CD's too.  We decided a few years ago that waiting till Christmas Day to begin listening to Christmas music just leaves too little time to enjoy it. Christmas carols feel like a preparation for Christmas, which is the point, right?  (And there just aren't enough familiar and singable Advent tunes, let alone Advent albums!)

The one tradition we have kept up for years is this special Advent calendar. It's a collection of 24 little books which each tell a part of the Christmas story. After you have read the booklet for the day, you hang it as an ornament on the Christmas tree.  This year, Bantam11 has been reading it to Chicklet8 and B5 every day.  That's probably why this one has stuck--it doesn't depend on Mom to make it happen!

We'd normally be doing the Advent wreath on Sundays, too, except this year, we're out of the candles and I just keep forgetting to go to the religious gift store.  Case in point, I guess.

We also have a Playmobil nativity set that we put out each year.  This year, there is enough room around it to set it up with the Three Kings far away from the stable.  They'll be moving closer as we near Epiphany.  B11 also set it up with Mary and Joseph and the donkey on the way to the stable, and the shepherds out in the field. Only a couple animals are in the barn today!

I'm in pretty good shape on the shopping and wrapping fronts, although the cookie-baking is going to have to wait till Christmas break this year, I fear.  We haven't done a Christmas card or letter in years, which I mourn but accept for another year.  Maybe an Epiphany letter, I always think...

Usually we end our home school a week or so before Christmas, so I can focus on getting ready for the holiday, at least for the last few crucial days.  But this year, both C8's and B11's virtual schools go right up to the 23rd, on paper at least.  I am pushing them this week in hopes they can finish by the 21st, so I can concentrate on housecleaning and food preparation for the rest of the week--before the relatives descend!  We're having Grandma and Grandpa Rooster, and Uncle, Aunt and Cousin Rooster overnight for Christmas; then the Hen side grandparents arrive a few days after.  It will be a wonderful time with extended family.

We are planning a Christmas Eve service as well, with kids involved.  (More on that later.)  And this weekend, we have a wedding back in IL, for the daughter of our closest friends from our old church.  Father Rooster is performing the ceremony, so we are going to the rehearsal and dinner as well.  It will be a wonderful celebration with many IL friends!

It's a crazy time of year to fit in a wedding, but we did the same thing, 24 years ago, so on top of everything else, we hope to fit in an anniversary date next Monday. 

Oh wait, BC18 and B15 have a Choir concert that night...

"It's the most...
wonderful time...
of the year!"

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