I know nothing about advent. Please share with me the meaning of advent and how your family celebrates. If you know the origin of advent, I would be interested in that as well.Thanks
I grew up understanding Advent as the heralding of the coming Christ--preparing ourselves, our homes, and our hearts.
Here is a Catholic article that touches on origins: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0369.html For my Byzantine Catholic family, it is a mix of fast and feasting days.
We did the Advent wreaths for many years, lighting a new candle each Advent sunday. Also Advent calendars, although that has been more a kid thing and not particularly spiritual. I know many families make a Jesse Tree as part of their Advent preparations. I would like to do that,but always seem to run out of time, lol.
We do not do Advent. I would love to hear how other people bring this season into their lives.
We do prepare for the Nativity of Christ in much the same way we prepare for Pascha. We fast as we do during lent. It is a less strict, more joyous fast. We also have several other things we celebrate in the middle which makes it s generally festive season. First there is Thanksgiving of course and then St Nicholas day (which usually gets rolled into Christmas) and the feast of St. Lucia (which also often gets rolled into Christmas). I like that we keep everything separated out.
here is cool thing a lot of people in my church do to mark the Nativity Fast and prepare for the feast. http://evlogiaonline.com/2011/11/12/tree-of-jesse/
At my Episcopal Church this past Sunday, the sermon was about Advent being a season of "joyful anticipation" for the coming of Jesus, which I thought was a very eloquent description. Some of our traditions include Advent calendars, wreaths with three blue or purple and one pink candle - one for each week of the season, Christmas pagents with the kids, Lessons and Carols services, Jesse trees, greening the church. Many churches also participate in outreach activities, such as collecting gifts and/or food for area families, sending care packages to soldiers, donating money to organizations that assist people in developing countries, warm clothing drives, etc. I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but most everything revolves around preparing ourselves and our space for the birth of Jesus, remembering the story of the first Christmas, and teaching the children about giving as well as receiving.