my only DIY post ever?
“We don’t ever do crafts at home because our mommy hates them.” -Pip to a friend the other day 😬
He’s right, I do kind of hate them. I like the idea of them A LOT, but the execution never goes well for me. I don’t feel very imaginative with stuff like that, so I follow someone else’ directions and get stressed about whether I have the right materials, etc. Then I usually get tense and cranky, and the whole things just flops.
So it’s unlike me to write anything about how-to or DIY this or that. But sometimes I get inspired to take a big idea and make it do-able and simple, and that’s where this comes in. I actually hit a peak of craftiness during our year in Ethiopia in 2012…wanting to carry on traditions for little Sam to see, but not having Target or Hobby Lobby to help me with that. We made a lot of Christmas decorations that year, and this was one of my favorites:
An Advent wreath...I was unfamiliar with these growing up, but marrying Tim brought me into lots of traditions that I hadn’t been exposed to much before. And this one is really neat to me—candles lit little by little over the weeks leading up to Christmas, building anticipation for the arrival of Jesus—the long-awaited Savior of the world.
If this seems interesting, this version just requires five candles and holders/glasses (and lentils or dried beans for filler if you want), a tray or platter of some sort, and some clippings from the bottom of your Christmas tree or some bush in your yard (or no clippings at all). Viola! An advent wreath.
You start four Sundays before Christmas, lighting one candle on the first Sunday (this year is Dec 2), two candles on the second Sunday (Dec 9), and so forth until all four candles are lit on the fourth Sunday (Dec 23). Then on Christmas Day, the final candle is lit to represent Christ’s birth.
Theoretically whenever we eat dinner at the table during the week, we light the appropriate candle(s) for that week and might read a bit from the Christmas story (Luke 2) or from an advent book like this (free and short!) one.
That sounds dreamy, right? Well, it’s usually not…if we have an advent book with 25 readings, we’ll be doing good to get through 10 or 15 of them. We eat dinner haphazardly some nights, have other things going on outside the house, or I’m just late getting dinner on the table and we rush through. It’s not magical.
But it is worthwhile, no matter how much we rock it or don’t rock it. It is dripping with symbolism and does so much to remind us of what’s true in the midst of a season full of busy-ness and distraction.
We’re reminded of the people of the Old Testament who waited their whole lives longing for the promised Savior to come (Hebrews 11:13), the way that we long for the brokenness in our world to be made right when Jesus returns (Revelation 21:3-4), and the fact that He is the light of the world (John 8:12).
So this Christmas season, I look forward to:
lighting these candles whether it’s perfectly disciplined and timed or not
watching that light grow from week to week as Christmas gets closer
thinking about how to make our lives shine for Jesus during this season and always
being reminded of the promises of God fulfilled in sending our Savior
Y’all, I did something crafty—and didn’t get cranky and actually completed it! 🙌 Hope you have a happy start to your Christmas season, and hope you find ways that work for you to remember why we celebrate. ❤️🎄