I can't take any credit for these... I have found them around over the years, and my husband and I are putting them together in a way that (we hope!) makes sense and instills a bit more of the idea of Advent being a time of waiting and watching.
First of all, I went out right before Halloween (thanks to many bloggers' suggestions) and bought a few sets of purple lights.
Secondly, I strung all the sets of lights on the tree, but for right now all we are plugging in are the purple ones. It's a bit... odd looking... seeing as we're all used to Christmas trees, but the whole purpose is to create an Advent tree! (I will have to take pictures and post them tomorrow. Right now my sweet dh is asleep on the couch and I don't want to wake him up by going in there and turning on the lights!)
Third, we ONLY hung up our Jesse Tree ornaments. Those of you who know me in real life, or have been reading this blog for awhile, may remember this post I wrote two years ago about the indestructible felt ornaments I made when Sean was a baby. Who knew that these things would still be around? Or that I'd get so much mileage out of one post? *grin*
Now, I would love to report that we are super-holy over here, and my children took to this idea well... but they didn't. They complained about the lack of lights, and the fact that we didn't put all the ornaments up. My husband, however, thought this was a great idea, and let them know that we WOULD try this out this year.
So, now what?
On the Feast of St. Nicholas, which will be this upcoming Saturday, we will bring out all the St. Nicolas statues and ornaments that we have (Sts. Nicholas? St. Nicolai?)
On the second Sunday of Advent, we will plug in one more strand of lights.
On the third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday), we will put all the musical ornaments on the tree as a reminder to REJOICE!
On Christmas Eve... after Mass... we will put ALL the ornaments on, plug in all the lights in their festive, gaudy, blinky array, swap out all the purple for the traditional green and red colors, and celebrate our little hearts out until Epiphany.
We will also be doing our Jesse Tree door hanging/countdown "thing" (for want of a better word) again as well. I would like to say I was on the ball and got it up before today but alas, the day flew by and it didn't happen. I will get that up tomorrow, hopefully.
The ultimate goal in all this, of course, is to turn our hearts (aided by sights, sounds, and decorations) to what this season is really about -- waiting. We are reminded through all of the readings that we've been given lately that Jesus is coming back, and while we are celebrating His birth, we are also thinking of His Second Coming.
It's odd to go against the tide. While the world is fully decked out in tinsel and celebration mode, we are trying (in a very small way) to hold back and wait.
May we all have a blessed Advent season!