Monday, November 30, 2009

The First Light of Advent & Giveaway Winner!

The first light of Advent is the light of stones,
Light that lives in seashells, in crystals and in bones...

The center of our Advent wreath

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and this is the first year our family is celebrating it. The girls truly loved it. We started the day by getting out our manger and setting it up on the piano. For the first week of Advent it will remain empty. Each week we will add things as they correspond (ie. Next week will be the trees, the following the animals and then lastly the humans.)

Our manger

We lit the candle right before dinner as we said this verse:

Winter is dark,
Yet each tiny spark
Brightens the way
To Christmas Day.

Shine little light
And show us the way
To the bright light
Of Christmas Day.
- H. St. John

We followed the custom for lighting the wreath with C lighting the candle. Yes, my baby lit the candle! Of course, I helped her but she did most of it herself. I honestly don't know what was brighter, the candle light or the smile on her face!
The custom is: The youngest child lights the candle the first week, the oldest child lights two candles the second week, the mother lights three candles the third week, and the father lights all four candles the fourth week.

We then sang an Advent song (the first verse is at the beginning of this post) and enjoyed dinner.

I have been reading anything I can get my hands on about Advent. I love the symbolism of everything in the wreath.The evergreen tree is a sign of immortality, because it's boughs are ever green and it's topmost branches point straight to heaven. The circle represents eternity, without beginning or end. The four candles placed on the Advent wreath creates a special connection with the Earth's four elements and kingdoms of nature (mineral, plant, animal, human), and to the four seasons of the year.

I look forward to the rest of Advent and adding more to our family's traditions.
I would love to hear ideas and things you do to celebrate in your home!

I am also happy to announce the winner of the walnut baby giveaway. The randomly chosen winner is:

becky said...
these dolls are super cute! thanks so much for a chance to win :)

Congrats Becky, please e-mail me at! For everyone else, do not despair! I have another giveaway coming up on Friday for something very dear to my heart. Thank you to all that entered and thank you, again, to Marie for the generous giveaway!



Naturalearthfarm said...

Thank you for sharing the symbolism some more. We just lighted our first candle last night at supper as well and read the same verse.
Warm wishes for this beautiful season.

boatbaby said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful tradition in the making. We're feeling our way through the season and what traditions work for our little family as well. It's a very special time...

Joy said...

That's really sweet! I'll bet C was so proud of herself. :) Happy Advent!

waldorfmama said...

oh, advent is my favorite time of year! i love the symbolism of everything you mentioned. indeed, it is a joyous time!

Jennifer said...

Everything looks great, I love your advent wreath.

Greyhaven Pines said...



Anonymous said...

we just started this year also! we are using a piece of our birthday ring for our advent candles. which seems to work well. but I love your wreath! can you share some of your resources for advent information? i have been searching and have not found anything great...

Anonymous said...

thanks for the extra advent calendar information - we've been doing it for a few years now but I'm always learning something new.

Luciana said...

It's very sweet the way you're celebrating Advent, thanks for sharing. I loved the tradition of lighting the candles you described (younger child, older child, mother and father)and may even borrow it! Btw, I got to your blog via Seasons Round and was so happy to see that you have my husband's book on your library (Dragon Baked Bread). He will be chuffed! Enjoy Advent!

kirschkernzeit said...

That post is- like every single post before- awsome! I like the way you celebrate special days, so kindly and with deep thoughts and the focus on how it feels and touches the soules of your girls. I have to say: WOW! If you don't mind, I'd love to make a link to your beautifull blog on my own (not at all so sweet and good) blog. I even would like to post a little "introduction" or, well, comment about your blog there. please let me know if you'd prefer it differently (that would be really ok. for me, of course).
with warm thoughts
bora from Switzerland

Traumkraut said...

Advent is my favourite time of the year, too. Especially since I am a mother. This year will be the first with a Manger and a nativity set... We build it the same way as you do. First some minerals, then trees, animals and humans.

We also have an Advent Calendar with little gifts each day until the 24th. And a Advent Spiral.

You can read more about it on my blog the next few days... if you like :-) I am going to write a little bit about celebrating Advent tomorrow.


Beth said...

I liked reading about your celebration of Advent and your traditions. I have noticed the stones in several Waldorfy Advent postings today, and knew nothing about it before. I also like the manger very much. My little boy and I are going to try to make one he can play with this year. I have a collection of creche scenes, all very fragile, I want him to be able to play the story. Beth

Tan Family said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing how you celebrate Advent.

Since you are looking for info on Advent, I thought you might be interested in Waverly Fitzgerald's site,

gardenmama said...

so very beautiful nicole!
i love the kindness and care that you put into your days with your girls. i love what you wrote about everyone having their turn lighting candles, there certainly is something very sacred about lighting a candle. will you still use you advent spiral? are the meanings behind each different for you? i am hoping to make one soon.

KnitterMama said...

What a lovely wreath. I have not started this family tradition yet--guess I am not sure how to. We are Catholic but we rarely go to church and I just don't want it it be in authentic. It is so lovely though and the symbolism so rich. Thank you.

healing hillary said...

thanks for sharing your advent traditions in the making. i love that advent verse...something i only recently heard.

i am looking forward to next week's advent tid-bits. you are a gem, nicole.

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

Dear Nicole, You really have created a beautiful beginning to your Advent traditions! I wish I had remembered that poem and included it in our night. (I will just save it as special for next year.) I would love to have long advent conversations with you sometime... How wonderful is the symbolism of the tree, the circle, the elements.. How can we not love this season... Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the beauty.

Anonymous said...

love reading about your traditions Nicole- just lovely! Guess what you are my winner for Herbal Roots- I will send you the Dec issue via e-mail congrats and happy Dec 1!

Frontier Dreams (Nicole) said...

Thank you for your kind words and inspiration everyone!

Most of my Advent research has been done online via google :P But also through the Floris 'Winter' book and a couple other Floris books I can't think of offhand right now.

Luciana - Oh my goodness! How funny!! We get that book out around Michaelmas time and it is my oldests favorite. She constantly dresses up as Princess Alice. Please tell your husband he wrote a truly wonderful book!! I would love it if you e-mailed me sometime.

Bora - Thankyou for such sweet words! I wrote back to you on your blog but yes, you can post about Frontier Dreams, for sure! You are so kind to ask and to want to do that!

Tan Family - Thank you for that site! I am off to explore it now :)

Gardenmama - Thank you! Yes, we are still using the spiral, we put the first candle in on the 1st. I'll post pics soon.

Knittermama - I know what you mean. This being our first year is a learning experience for me.

Hillary - Thanks, did you decide if you will celebrate it this year?

Renee - Thank you, it truly is a beautiful time of the year, isn't it?

allison said...

I love your Advent celebration! is just a magical and fantastic period. Unfortunately my kid and me were sick on Sunday so we couldn't go to celebrate at Wardolf school, but we light the candle at home. And I'm working on my actual project... your blog is so beautiful and inspiring, thank you for visiting mine :)

Kelly said...

Happy Advent season to you. Advents such a lovely, warm, joyous time to celebrate as a family.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

this is our first year to observe advent, too. we are doing "mary's star path". on one side of our seasonal table there is the empty stable. on the opposite side is a pregnant mary (a handmade doll) and her donkey. in front of her is a path of gold stars (one for each day of advent) with the last one being IN the stable. each night we move mary up one star and hang the previous star in the "sky" (the wall covered in dark blue fabric). on christmas eve she will make her way into the stable where joseph is waiting for her. in the morning she will be holding baby jesus. each night we light a candle and sing the same song that you do (winter is dark but each tiny spark...) my two yr old is loving it!

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