In the Southern hemisphere, Christmas falls near the Summer Solstice when the light is at its strongest and we celebrate the triumph of light at its greatest point in the yearly cycle. For thousands of years before Christianity, the Egyptians celebrated the Festival of Osiris, the Celts and Druids held great festivals of fire and light, the Hindus had the Diwali festival of lights and the Jewish celebrated Hanukkah.
As the year draws to an end in our beautiful part of the world, we increasingly spend time outside enjoying “the sun in the heavens”. With the long warm days, intense light and balmy nights we are drawn out into the elements rather than into “the sun in our hearts”. It can be challenging to develop a sense of inwardness, patience and contemplation when the Spirit of the Earth (and us) is on its outward breath. To balance this we can consciously choose to “receive the light” and celebrate what is both universally human and universally spiritual.
How Advent is celebrated in your family is a personal choice. It can provide an opportunity for some quiet ‘breathing in’ during this outwardly busy time of year and help your children to practice preparation and patience through the ritual of counting the weeks and days to the special celebratory event. The lighting of candles each week also reflects our own ‘Divine Light’ and helps to bring us a little inward contemplation.
Here are some ideas that you might like to include in your own advent celebrations:
Verses for the 4 weeks of Advent
Week 1: Crystal Kingdom
The first light of Advent
Is the light of stones,
Stones that shine through seashells
Crystals and in bones.
Week 2: Plant Kingdom
The second light of Advent
Is the light of plants,
Plants that reach up to the sun
And in the breezes dance.
Week 3: Animal Kingdom
The third light of Advent
Is the light of beasts,
The light of hope that we may see
In greatest and in least.
Week 4: Humankind
The fourth light of Advent
Is the light of man,
The light of hope, of thoughts,
To give and understand.
Our library also has some handouts on making an advent wreath, etc.