Thursday, November 1, 2007

Advent Preparation List

I know it's crazy, but Advent is almost here! November 15th is a short two weeks away. Assuming your life is a least half as crazy as mine (3 kids 3 and under), then you will need at least two weeks to start getting ready.

First things first, I recommend that everyone buys Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home by Anthony Coniaris. I've found this to be a great resource. It gives good ideas for discussion topics for families regarding feasting, fasting and other various Christian topics (death, sex ed, etc.). It also has a great Advent section telling how to make an Orthodox Advent wreath and my favorite part (which I will not be printing on this blog...hence your need to buy the book) is that for every Sunday of Advent, this book lists readings, prayers, hymns to sing and discussion topics pertinent to the day.

The first big project for us all is to purchase the necessary craft material for Advent. I will spend the next couple of weeks listing the various projects I've planned out for Advent and the materials needed. I will also include directions for making an Advent Wreath adapted for the Orthodox Christian family. Please feel free to leave any suggestions you have to help present Advent to little children!

Advent Wreath materials:
A large styrofoam wreath (space will be needed for seven candles)
Evergreen branches (fake or real)
Colored candles (at least one each dependent on whether you think you'll be lighting candles every night): green, blue, gold, white, purple and red. Michael's carries candles in these colors. If you can't find colored candles, you may purchase white candles and the appropriatedly colored ribbons to tie around.
A paschal candle (one remaining from Pascha or another one similar too. Or just a plain white one.)

Directions: Place candles in the styrofoam wreath in the order listed above. Now, my preference is to place a large, white 'paschal' candle in the middle, but you may also include it in the ring. Lay evergreen branches around candles to cover styrofoam. Another option would be to by a large evergreen wreath and 6-7 candle holders. Place the candles in the holders and arrange in the wreath.

Advent paper chain:
Construction paper in the various colors corresponding to the candles (for gold paper, you might need to use wrapping paper. That or you can substitute yellow or orange.) Cut the paper into strips. Tape strips into a ring, interlocking them as you go. Due to the timing of Advent this year, you'll need the following number of strips for each color and place them in the following order, taking them off one by one on each evening in Advent. Now, I like the idea of hanging the chain from a star that will remain for Christmas Day but you may do as you please. (:

Green--10 strips (because Nov 15th isn't a Sunday, you will have extra strips of this color)
Blue--7 strips
Gold--7 strips
White--7 strips
Purple--7 strips
Red--2 strips

**If you have readers, you can use your computer and print out a bible verse on each strip to be read each night when taken off.

More to follow soon!


Calee Lee said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I converted this last year and I was really hoping to find a way to celebrate advent for our daughter (even though she's only 9 months...)

I plan on getting the book and sharing your blog with our friends. Thanks!

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Genie Elizabeth said...

Do you have a list of 40 verses? Thanks!

Ma Torg said...

Sorry, Genie, but I don't on hand. I'll work on that, though! We've honestly had to be a bit lazy the last couple years due to moves and pregnancy.

shelley said...

Is there a reason for the color choices? Could I just use red for the liturgical color of the season of Advent and white for the Christmas candle?

Jen said...

Shelley, that's what we do! I use six red candles for the six weeks of advent and then swap them for six white candles for the 12 days of Christmas (and maybe into Epiphany). We add the bigger white pillar candle in the middle for Christmastide as well.

During Advent, for the feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos, we light a blue flower candle for Our Lady and float it in a glass bowl in the center of our wreath. (You can find blue flower floating candles at Micheal's and elsewhere.)