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Peace – the second week of advent

today marks the beginning of the second week of advent and tonight we lit for the first time the  Peace candle.

Simon is starting to get it more now and I love that every evening lighting the candles we have a conversation about Christ and why we are lighting the candles. All last week he was pretty sure that “Advent” was a person that was coming to our house, and that Joseph (in the nativity figurines) was actually God. Now he is a little more straightened out,  he knows about Mary, Joseph and Gabriel and that they are on their way to Bethlehem, and he knows that Mary has a baby in her tummy.

(this is our daily count down 24 candles, one for each day of advent, traveling Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem are on the left)

I can see how all of this can be very confusing to a child especially since he gets information and feedback from all sorts of sources besides Myles and I (other adults and kids). And then there is also Santa Clause on top of it all which is like a completely different narrative so that’s also confusing. Last year I checked out books from the library about the legend of St. Nicholas and I think I might do that again but mainly this year I was to focus on the Christmas story and not throw too much at him but he already knows that Santa Clause comes to your house and brings presents. A few times last week when people would come to the door and knock and Simon would jump up and say “that’s Santa Clause!” and I would respond with something like  “no that’s probably Grandma, remember Grandma is coming over for lunch.” Finally I told him that Santa Clause wasn’t coming for another month and besides he didn’t use the front door he came down the chimney. Simon just looked at me really confused and said “Why?!” which when you think about it is a really good question… why would someone try and slide down a chimney when there is a perfectly good front door? I know it comes from the legend of St. Nicholas who dropped gold coins down the chimney into the stockings that were drying over the embers but how did that evolve into him actually sliding down your chimney with presents? Wouldn’t it make more sense if you work up to a fire place stuffed with gifts? So because I didn’t know what to say I just told him “that’s just what Santa Clause does!” Who knew all of this was going to be so complicated?

Tonight we also decorated our tree (next am I going to have to explain the druids?) and Myles ask Simon if he knew why we put stockings up over the fire place and Simon looked at him and said “I just don’t know!” and that’s how I feel now too I am beginning to see just how silly a lot of our traditions actually seem when you step back from them and look at them with fresh eyes. The whole Catalan tradition of Caga Tio pooping out your presents starts to seems a lore more reasonable. But none of that means that I am going to stop doing any of them…

I also wanted to share something that we started 3 years ago for Simon’s first Christmas. We heard about this family on NPR, I believe it was a story on All Things Considered about family traditions. At any rate this particular family had a box of books that only came out at Christmas and they were all books pertaining to the winter festivities. We liked the idea a lot and I started collecting books (mostly from goodwill) that had to do with Christmas. Now we have a small collection and we store them away with the Christmas stuff when the holidays are over. Each year we plan to buy one or two new books for this little collection. It was fun to bring it out this year as Simon doesn’t remember any of them and they are like all new books to him. I also have started collecting books about Easter and ones relating to fall and I plan to bring those out at the seasonally appropriate times. But if you have any suggestions for Christmas books to get please leave me a comment as I would love to get at least one new one this year so if you have a favorite let me know.

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  1. We have a box of Christmas books that comes out on Thanksgiving day along with the Christmas music. It is a mixture of books about the birth of Christ and a few about St. Nicolas. By the way, if you actually heat your house with wood (as we do) it makes NO sense for Santa to throw the gifts down the chimney…they’d burst into flames 🙂 We’ve never done the Santa thing, however, so it’s a non-issue at our house.

  2. I love Christmas books! Ours magically appear on the first Sunday of Advent and stay until Epiphany. A really great children’s book that we added to our collection this year is ‘Mortimer’s Christmas Manger’ by Karma Wilson. It’s a super cute story with great illustrations.

    The feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th is a really fun tradition, kids can set out their shoes to have them filled with candy coins, oranges, and other little treats. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/ is a great resource, we have had a lot of fun celebrating St. Nicholas day.

  3. Oh wow… I have THE perfect Christmas gift for you guys. It’s fantastic! It’s called the Christmas Tapestry and is such a great story, I’ll send it to ya–one of the perks of hubby’s job 😉

  4. Book Recommendations: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski; The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans; The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams; One Wintery Night by Ruth Bell Graham; Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis; The Adventure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel; Sacred Songs of Christmas: A Family Treasury Concordia Publishing; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide.

    Please share where you found your linear Advent candle shown in the window with your son. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    • admin

      My husband made that out of a piece of oak, but he had to borrow some tool to do it (a lathe?) My husband grew up in a home that had a full wood shop in the in basement and he was allowed free reign so he is quite handy and artistic but we don’t have all the tools ourselves (someday maybe) The advent spiral is from http://adventtolenttoascensionwreath.blogspot.com/ and we use it for Lent too.