The season of Advent begins four Sundays prior to Christmas and culminates on December 24th. In the tradition of the Christian churches, one candle was lit each Sunday until the light of four candles heralded the birth of Christ. Writer Annie B. Bond reminds us that “Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Diwali, and the celebration of Buddha’s enlightenment all take place in December, the darkest time of the year.” Despite these different leanings, our common searching for Light in the darkness of Winter unites us.
Within Waldorf classrooms, festivals such as Advent are not taught as fact but are offered in the form of stories, allowing the children great freedom to absorb the festivals as they will.
When presented in a spirit of wonder and awe, something of the true spirit of each festival will speak to each child in unique ways. Many Waldorf classrooms celebrate Advent, beginning with a simple candle-lighting in preschool to an all-class assembly in the grades. Each grade class leaves the assembly with their own candle enabling them to carry the light and warmth of Advent back to their individual classrooms.
BRINGING ADVENT HOME
For those with spiritual leanings who don’t feel that they have arrived at a well-defined spiritual destination, this time of year can present a predicament. You may find yourself wondering what you can share with your children about this time of year when you yourself don’t feel like you have it all figured out. If you are looking for ways to incorporate the Advent season into your homelife, perhaps consider some of the following suggestions.
*Build a small Advent wreath out of plant boughs, or other natural material. The wreath can be held together with ribbons or wire. Add elements each week to correspond with the verse below.
*Recite the following verse, spoken in Waldorf classrooms around the world, while you light a candle each Sunday of Advent.
"The first light of advent is the light of stones, Stones that live in crystals in seashells and in bones.
The second light of advent is the light of plants, Plants that reach up to the sun, and in the breezes, dance.
The third light of advent is the light of beasts, The light of hope that we may see in greatest and in least.
The fourth light of advent is the light of man, The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand"
*Advent is a time of preparation. Children can busy themselves making handmade gifts and cards, or holiday decorations for your home. We are curating a growing collection of gift ideas that children can make for others!
*Invite family or friends over to join your family for an evening of carols and gift-making or baking.
This list is by no means exhaustive. What’s most important is to find or create traditions for your family that are meaningful. My hope for this holiday season is that no matter what our beliefs are, that we are all working towards being the most loving, compassionate people we can be — bringing the light into ourselves. Our children need that.
All love this holiday season,
Robyn & Brian Wolfe