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Author Topic: Advent Traditions  (Read 5218 times)

Nyktelios

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Advent Traditions
« on: December 04, 2014, 07:14:37 pm »
If you grew up, or still function, in a Christian household to some extent, do you have any pleasant Advent traditions to share?

Whenever I went to my grandparents' house for the weekend in December growing up, my grandma always liked to bring out the advent wreath and light the candles with us. I think Advent is one of her favourite seasons in the church year, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people. She also gave my cousins and I Advent calendars every year, which were always fun, especially the ones with the chocolate in them.

Choral festivities are always big in Anglican churches, especially the Nine Lessons and Carols service. I went to a sky high Anglo-Catholic Advent evensong last week that was spectacular, with a procession to different stations in the church and lots of Advent carols. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is one of my favourites, and it's often sung in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I'm sure Roman Catholics put on a good show during Advent, as they always seem to be decorated violet banners hanging from the pillars in the church, though I haven't been to an actual RC Advent service recently. I don't know what the Protestant denominations do, they usually aren't very festive lol ;)

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2014, 08:17:50 am »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166749
If you grew up, or still function, in a Christian household to some extent, do you have any pleasant Advent traditions to share?

Whenever I went to my grandparents' house for the weekend in December growing up, my grandma always liked to bring out the advent wreath and light the candles with us. I think Advent is one of her favourite seasons in the church year, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people. She also gave my cousins and I Advent calendars every year, which were always fun, especially the ones with the chocolate in them.

Choral festivities are always big in Anglican churches, especially the Nine Lessons and Carols service. I went to a sky high Anglo-Catholic Advent evensong last week that was spectacular, with a procession to different stations in the church and lots of Advent carols. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is one of my favourites, and it's often sung in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I'm sure Roman Catholics put on a good show during Advent, as they always seem to be decorated violet banners hanging from the pillars in the church, though I haven't been to an actual RC Advent service recently. I don't know what the Protestant denominations do, they usually aren't very festive lol ;)

 
When I was little, we used to read the advent story every year (all the way up through High School actually).  We had a little story book that had a page to read every day, and a little calendar with a window to open.  I loved it!

I always hoped for a chocolate advent calendar because Chocolate!  Didn't always get one, but they were fun too.

I looked for the chocolate ones when my son was little, and never found them, which was weird I thought because we live in the bible belt.  I also looked for online advent calendars that told the story, and it took me years to find one.

But I have very fond memories of the advent story when I was little.  My family wasn't heavily religious, but we had our own little rituals, and this was one of them.
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veggiewolf

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2014, 09:07:41 am »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166749
If you grew up, or still function, in a Christian household to some extent, do you have any pleasant Advent traditions to share?
...

 
Advent was my favorite time of the liturgical year when I was growing up in the Episcopal Church.  I sang in the choir from age 5 through 20, and the hymns in the Advent section of the 1982 Hymnal are some of my all-time favorites:

Quote
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death's dark shadows put to flight!
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to Thee, O Israel!


We always had an Advent calendar, and in church the candles on the Advent wreath were lit each week.  I always thought it made the countdown to Christmas mean more, especially once the purple candle was lit.

I am no longer a Christian, but I do put up decorations that include a creche during Advent, and I gave my brother's children a Noah's ark Advent calendar to use each year (new animals come out of each door).
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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2014, 09:29:41 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;166779
We always had an Advent calendar, and in church the candles on the Advent wreath were lit each week.  I always thought it made the countdown to Christmas mean more, especially once the purple candle was lit,


In order to cope with my non-belief while still being forced to attend church as a young teen, I became an acolyte...and soon became head acolyte because of my knack for protocol and professionalism.
 
Walking down to the rack laden with a huge fir-bough wreath and lighting the advent candles was what made the season important to me. I always volunteered for the midnight Christmas Eve service because part of the job was lighting racks upon racks upon racks of candles throughout the entire sanctuary immediately prior to the service starting. Several hundred all told and enough that I always had to tuck up my robe sleeve a packet of spare wicks for the brass candlelighter.

The lighting of the hundreds of candles was MY service. Everyone else sang hymns and listened to people at lecterns making noises for an hour; that was THEIR service.

I dearly miss the ritual of lighting the candles.  Looking back...the late hour, the flames, and the repetitiveness of the motions probably brought me into a light altered state. It was a really magical thing for me.
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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2014, 03:39:58 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166749
If you grew up, or still function, in a Christian household to some extent, do you have any pleasant Advent traditions to share?

I still light my advent wreath with the five candles, if I remember. I go to Advent 'high church' services when I can. Advent for me was always far more mystical than Christmas. Waiting for Light is an experience that my current Pagan and past Christian traditions have in common.
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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2014, 03:55:24 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166749
If you grew up, or still function, in a Christian household to some extent, do you have any pleasant Advent traditions to share?

I loved the Advent wreath of my childhood, and couldn't wait until I was old enough to be allowed to light the candles. I've been toying with the idea of fashioning an Orthodox version with six candles, but it seems like too much work. I just burn more candles than at any other time of the year.

I also love Nine Lessons and Carols services, but our local parishes have grown too low church, so there's nowhere to attend one any more. I stay at home and listen to the broadcast from King's College instead.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 03:56:32 pm by Chatelaine »
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Nyktelios

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2014, 11:22:14 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;166779
Advent was my favorite time of the liturgical year when I was growing up in the Episcopal Church.

 
Quote from: Naomi J;166815
I still light my advent wreath with the five candles, if I remember. I go to Advent 'high church' services when I can. Advent for me was always far more mystical than Christmas. Waiting for Light is an experience that my current Pagan and past Christian traditions have in common.


That's interesting that a good number of people in this thread have Advent experiences that relate to Anglican/Episcopalian traditions. Anglicans are really into Advent, and high church is definitely the way to go.
 
Quote from: Chatelaine;166892
I also love Nine Lessons and Carols services, but our local parishes have grown too low church, so there's nowhere to attend one any more. I stay at home and listen to the broadcast from King's College instead.


I've seen a few  of the King's College, Cambridge broadcasts on Youtube, they seem really beautiful.

My local parish that I attend is on the lower end of moderate churchmanship, so I can relate, although it does do a Nine Lessons and Carols service. For special occasions, I like to visit Anglo-Catholic parishes downtown to really bask in the beauty of high liturgy.
 
Quote from: Allaya;166783
In order to cope with my non-belief while still being forced to attend church as a young teen, I became an acolyte...and soon became head acolyte because of my knack for protocol and professionalism.
[...]
I dearly miss the ritual of lighting the candles.  Looking back...the late hour, the flames, and the repetitiveness of the motions probably brought me into a light altered state. It was a really magical thing for me.

 
Very cool, was this in a Lutheran church? Candles are a must during this season :)

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2014, 05:14:57 am »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166984
I've seen a few  of the King's College, Cambridge broadcasts on Youtube, they seem really beautiful.


When I was little, I had the luck to attend one. That's what got me hooked, really. From inside that chapel, by candlelight, without depending on technology for sound capture... it's beyond beautiful.

Another family ritual involves setting out the Nativity set. My little brother does it now, as the youngest of the family, but he still needs my help. :) This year I've got my own set in my room, as well; I saved up for this: http://www.cenacle.co.uk/products.asp?recnumber=1298
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veggiewolf

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2014, 01:28:38 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;166892
....
I also love Nine Lessons and Carols services, but our local parishes have grown too low church, so there's nowhere to attend one any more. I stay at home and listen to the broadcast from King's College instead.

 
And, there's the other thing I miss - Lessons and Carols.  I can't believe I didn't list it in my previous post!  I miss singing in that service, but also listening.

*makes plans to listen on the radio*
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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2014, 01:58:43 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166984
Very cool, was this in a Lutheran church? Candles are a must during this season :)

 
Sure was!  A sanctuary full of red poinsettias, evergreen branches, and candles every advent season. It made having to drag oneself through the five hundred and sixty Sundays after Pentacost that much more bearable, knowing that advent would be at the end of it.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
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Nyktelios

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2014, 10:20:35 pm »
Quote from: Allaya;167030
Sure was!  A sanctuary full of red poinsettias, evergreen branches, and candles every advent season. It made having to drag oneself through the five hundred and sixty Sundays after Pentacost that much more bearable, knowing that advent would be at the end of it.

 
That sounds lovely! I'm not very familiar with Lutheranism, but it sounds like they appreciate aesthetics, at least.

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Re: Advent Traditions
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2014, 04:39:42 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;167049
That sounds lovely! I'm not very familiar with Lutheranism, but it sounds like they appreciate aesthetics, at least.

Definitely so.  I've got quite a few childhood memories of services (not just Advent/Christmas, but the entire year round) and it was always an Experience.

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