By Colleen Pressprich
Maybe you’ve never celebrated Advent before. Maybe you used to, but you’re in survival mode and you don’t think you’ll manage to make it look like it did before. Maybe you’re curious, but dang those Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts are intimidating. If you fit into any of those categories, this post is for you.
I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to start Advent traditions, and not only that, it’s easy to do.
Start small and set yourself up for success
There are about a thousand different Advent traditions, and as more and more families seek to dive deeper into their faith, many of them have come back into fashion. You don’t have to do them all. Choose one or two that you think your family can handle and start there.
When our family began celebrating Advent more intentionally, we started with lighting the Advent wreath at dinner every night and singing a single verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel. It took all of 3 minutes and because of that, we were consistent with it.
The next year we added a prayer before we lit the wreath. And then we built in the Jesse Tree devotion the year after that. I am certain that if we had tried to do all three at once, we would never have managed to stick with it.
Take Advantage of Technology
One of my favorite Advent traditions is the St. Andrew Novena. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a single prayer you say 15 times a day from St. Andrew’s feast day (November 30th) until Christmas Eve. But, it’s hard to remember all 15 times. So I put the prayer up as my phone’s lock screen: that way every time I open my phone to check a message or an email, it’s right there.
Other ways of making technology work for you this Advent can be:
- Setting a prayer alarm to remind your family to light the Advent wreath or complete your Jesse Tree
- Watch a daily Advent Meditation as a family with Brother Francis! You can get it as a DVD here, or watch online here.
- Watching a weekly Advent or Christmas themed show or movie
- Putting music on in the background of your home - there are some beautiful Advent hymns out there that can help set the mood of the season.
Set the scene
I love seasonal decorations. A few well-placed items can shift my mood dramatically. Whether you come from a family that decorated full force right after Thanksgiving or one that slowly added to the home as Advent progressed, I’d encourage you to figure out what (and how much) decorations help you to feel more engaged in the hopeful waiting that is Advent. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, just something to tell you and those who walk into your home that this season is different.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Social media can be a great place to source ideas for new traditions and liturgical living tips. But it can also very easily make you feel inadequate. Only you know which way it works for you. As we journey through Advent this year, I would encourage you to let go of comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own home and hearth and trust that God is working and that He will bless your efforts to dive into Advent.