Celebrating Advent: A Nature-based Approach
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” Traditionally, the season of Advent lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. At Emerald Heart, we celebrate a nature-based Advent for four weeks leading up to winter solstice. The four weeks honor four realms:
Human Love & Kindness
This approach can be enjoyed by families of any spiritual or religious path to engage more fully in the earth’s seasons.
At home, Advent can be celebrated nightly or at the start of each week. An Advent wreath with 4 candles is a beautiful way to focus the family’s attention. Each week, a new candle is lit.
The candles symbolizes cultivating our inner light during the darkness of winter. How nourishing it is to claim this metaphor as an intention. We are beacons of light—as a family and as individuals.
This candle-lit gathering can be a time of true togetherness away from hustle and bustle, devices and To Do Lists. It’s a time to slow down as a family, to read stories related to that week’s theme and to sing songs such as “This Little Light Of Mine.” It can include good wishes for loved ones or for the earth. You can create your own family tradition that reflects your values and interests. There’s no wrong way.
A Nature-based Verse For Lighting the Advent Wreath Candles
The first light of Advent is the light of stones—
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants—
Plants that reach up to the sky and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts
From swimming fish to running deer to flying bees and geese.**
The fourth light of Advent is the light of heart and hand—
The light of human love, to give and to understand.
**I have replaced the original stanza with animals who my students experience here in our home place.
At Emerald Heart, we in the midst of celebrating Advent. Last week during Circle, teachers shared crystals and a family of heart rocks. Children handled fragile sea shells with gentle hands and carefully turned geodes to catch the sunlight. This was a time of wonder and curiosity.
We are now in the second week of Advent with a focus on plants. We measure the growth of one particular bulb. We search for fir boughs and make door swags. At lunch, we play a Name Game--naming plants we eat: apples, carrots, tree nuts, wheat bread.
Looking forward to next week: animals! Wishing you and your family a beautiful season with moments of pause, deep nourishment and joy.