When I was little, one of my favorite parts of advent was when we were in church and families would come up and light the advent wreath. I especially loved it on the few ocassions that my family was asked to read and light a candle. Many moons ago before Hubby and I married, I bought my own advent wreath and it has been a part of our Christmas tradition in our home ever since. We keep it in the middle of our dining room table and have devotionals while lighting the candles and discussing what Christmas is really about. Yesterday's advent devotional had a really great idea in it and Princess loved it so much that she has latched on and decided on a new tradition.
Yesterday we lit the candle of joy. We talked about how even though Mary had every reason to be afraid, she expressed joy in God's favor. The angels comforted the frightened shephers with joy of good news. And that the joy we find isn't in our circumstances, but in our relationship with God in Christ.
The suggestion at the end of the devotional was that whenever you turn on your Christmas tree lights say, "Christ is welcome in this home," or "Jesus, the light of the world, the joy of our hearts." As I was tucking Princess into bed last night I noted that she had turned on her Christmas tree on her dresser and she immediately said, "Yes, but I need to turn it off and do it again." When I asked why she said that she had forgotten to say something when she did it. So she hopped up, unplugged her tree and plugged it in again saying, "Christ is welcome in this home."
I agree with Princess. I really like this and I think we'll adopt it as a new tradition, a reminder that Christ is indeed welcome in our home and also that Jesus is the light of the world and the joy of our hearts. Praise be to God!