We’ve been using an Advent devotional this year called We Light the Candles¹. Each week’s candle has a different name: Promise, Light, Love, and…
“What do you think our last candle is named?” I asked the children.
“Peace!” yelled one, and “Joy!” said another. Rosie looked at me with a grin and said, “Impatience!”
That’s about how we’re all feeling right now, isn’t it? Impatient.
Here at our house, we’re all ready. I came into Advent a little stressed, because I hadn’t done anything at all yet, but now there are just a couple of gifts still in the mail, and everything is wrapped and tucked away in hiding spots. Evie’s gift is one that her sisters outgrew – pulled out of storage, cleaned up and refurbished. She’s going to love it. All other purchases have, wonder of wonders, stayed within budget²!
We don’t give a whole lot of gifts anymore, because of the expense, because of space, and because the more you give, the more you end up wasting energy and money on things they don’t really want. We’ve learned that a very few carefully chosen gifts will bring more pleasure than a slew of rash purchases. But still, our tree will overflow, because there are eleven of us celebrating together this year, and eleven times a few is still a lot! But all is in readiness.
Except, we’re still impatient. The days have been just dragging by, and this promises to be a warm, but rainy, week, cutting into our opportunities for outdoor fun. I have one more small thing to purchase, so we’ll go out to buy that, and I expect we’ll be visiting the library, and baking cookies, and playing board games, and making art projects, until Christmas Eve finally arrives! Maybe we’ll throw in some napping and movies for extra time-wasting fun.
How about you? Are you ready?
1: We Light the Candles is put out by a Lutheran publisher, but it’s a wonderful little resource for using the Advent wreath with young children. Put it on your list for next year, or buy one now and put it in the box with your Advent things so you’ll find it next year. I haven’t found anything that might be offensive to Catholics, and though I’d like it to go a little bit deeper, it’s really quite appropriate for young ones. And whatever it may be lacking you can more than make up for with a good selection of picture books.
We’ve been using it at bedtime this year. We light the candles and sing an Advent song, read the devotional and then a seasonal picture book or three, offer our regular evening prayer intentions for the people we love, close with a Marian prayer, and then snuff out the candles. Evie is an excellent snuffer. And I buy three sets of candles so I can refresh them each Sunday; my sense of order is deeply disturbed by mismatched candle heights.
Oh, and the last candle? It’s named Hope.
2: This is a topic for another day, but… budgets! This is the first year we’ve made a real budget, and it actually took me until October to really get how a budget works. It’s wonderful! Revolutionary! With this new knowledge and understanding, 2016 should be a stellar year, financially speaking. I’ll write a more in-depth treatment of this topic later, which will only be helpful if you’re the family money manager. I am.