Advent – Latin ad venio, “to come” — is the liturgical season anticipating the Adventus Domini, the “coming of the Lord” – Christmas!
Shorter, colder days and brightly packaged goodies are beginning to make their appearance. In this society of ‘instant’, we have the world at our fingertips…this world, that is. Things of the Eternal, however, are worthy of a longer wait and they invite our undivided attention. The season of Advent is such a time – a time of waiting and a time of longing. Contrary to our secular world, the Kingdom of God keeps time in its own way. In the Church, Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year…
so Happy New Year!
As Catholic Christians we are called to remember that the Word became Flesh, dwelling among us and the season of Advent is the precursor of this event. Many do not realize that Advent is a season of penance and of hoping for our Savior to come. It is a time of preparation, of prayer, and of meditation. As we bake cookies, create crafts, decorate, and ponder gift-giving, we are reminded of the importance of the Reason for this Season.
One of the ways at our disposal to ‘track’ the Advent season is to display an Advent wreath in our homes. This material reminder helps to warm our spirits as we anticipate the greatest gift ever given to the human race – Jesus, son of the Father, became human and therefore our Brother! As we light one candle per week, we can learn about Jesus – Who He was, is, and will always be for us! While we count down the days we can seek to imitate Him in his Gift of giving and love for all mankind.
Advent consists of four Sundays, each marked by the lighting of one candle on an Advent wreath. The penitent color, purple, is the liturgical color of this season – the same liturgical color used during Lent. The optional exception to this is the third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday – when rose/pink may be used to signify the resurgence of hope that we are feeling as Christmas approaches. As in Lent, we are also reminded to remember the poor, our prayer life, and sacrifice.
Marian and pro-life themes also come to mind during the Advent Season in a very special way. As a mother, Mary spiritually joins us in awaiting a much anticipated birth – even during difficult circumstances. She becomes our model of holy waiting for the culmination of her ‘yes’ to God through His birth. Her example of grace and purity help us model our lives after hers. During the season of Advent the special Feast of the Immaculate Conception occurs on December 8th and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas is observed on December 12.
Here, then, is a project for you and your family to enjoy together as you count down the days, as we await the coming of Jesus!
1 – 10″ paper plate (you can also use the 8-1/2″ size)
4 – empty toilet paper rolls
1 – sheet purple construction paper
1 – sheet pink construction paper
3 – sheets holiday green construction paper
2 – sheets lighter green paper (construction or copy paper will suffice)
4 – glitter pipe cleaners
4 – mini muffin papers
4 – tea lights (if necessary, these can be replaced as needed)
hot glue gun and glue
green poster paint
pen or pencil
red and/or green beads
Trace children’s (and parents’ if desired) hands on both shades of green paper and cut out. You will wind up with approximately 20 – 25 paper hand tracings. These will become the boughs of your wreath.
Cut 1 pink and 3 purple pieces of paper measuring 4-1/8″ x 5-3/4″. These will cover your ‘candles’.
Paint the back of your paper plate with green paint and allow to dry.
Cut a circle the size of a small to medium glass out of the center of the paper plate. This gives your wreath its shape.
Decorate the hands (boughs) with glitter glue, if desired.
Decorate purple and pink candle covers with magic marker or glitter glue if desired.
Staple green hands (boughs) onto the paper plate, in a circular pattern, making sure to cover the preceding staples until entire wreath is covered.
Glue purple and pink paper to empty toilet paper rolls.
Using hot glue, attach mini muffin papers into ends of toilet paper roll candles.
Using hot glue, attach ‘candles’ to wreath toward center of wreath.
While glue is still hot, encircle bottom of candle with glitter pipe cleaner.
Do the same at the top of the candle to mask the joint of glue between the construction paper and muffin paper.
Insert tea lights into muffin papers at top of candle.
Using hot glue, attach green and red beads around ‘boughs’ of wreath for desired effect.
In the tradition of Advent, you can now light the appropriate number of candles for all of your family meals. The personal aspect of this craft tailors it to your family and helps the little ones remember that this is a time of longing for Christ – born as a babe on Christmas to become the Savior of the World! In the pride and ownership that they take in this project, you will be provided many opportunities for mealtime conversations, steering your family into the proper frame of mind for this penitent season that culminates in Christmas joy!
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I’d like to thank my little helpers for their assistance during this production: Lucas – 22 months, Rachel – 2, Sarah – 3, Simon – 3, Corbin – 5, Abby – 5, and Evan 7…Nana loves you!