Friday, November 30, 2012

advent: preparation and wonder

One of the elements of Waldorf education that I quite appreciate is the importance of marking cultural festivals, days of social and even sacred significance. In the next post of my series on Waldorf in our home I'll be talking about this as I look at reverence in Waldorf living. What is notable is that, while Waldorf traditions are most definitely and undeniably Christian in origin, the traditions can be easily adapted to suit a home which is not Christian. Fortunately for us, these traditions align perfectly with our faith, so we have been happy to embrace all of the Christian elements of Waldorf traditions. Advent is a particularly emphasised season in the Waldorf year, and as I have been planning how our family will be marking the days of Advent I have considered how I can incorporate some Waldorf elements into our devotional.

Rudolph Steiner divided the four weeks of the Advent season into four themes. As the weeks progress, the complexity of the themes increases. The four weeks are ordered thus:

The first light of Advent is the light of stone–.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and 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–
All await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind–
The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand

With that in mind, this year our nightly Advent devotional will follow the theme of the week, using scripture passages that align with that theme. We'll also be creating an Advent display as we did last year, only this year using beads to represent the week's theme.

In keeping with the ideas of rhythm and predictability, we'll be using the same scripture readings, short song and rhymes Monday through Friday of the week. On Sunday - to begin the week - and on Saturday - to close it - we'll add a short story. We won't be engaging in a great deal of conversation about the evening's devotional, just a short check-in with Peanut about what she's hearing and what she may be thinking. She's so free with her thoughts, I'm sure she'll have lots to say. My aim is not to educate but to expose, to give our girls an experience of preparation and waiting, of wonder and amazement, and to simply see the advent and nativity stories expressed. In turn, I think Jon and I will have much to learn from them as they encounter the overriding themes of the season.

Our advent display for this year will hang suspended from the chandelier over our dining table. Wires will be hooked onto the five shades of the chandelier and the beads will be strung onto them. By Christmas morning, we will have a mutlicoloured bead star over our heads as we eat. I think it will be beautiful.

I'll be posting the readings for each week's devotional: just click the button in the sidebar to the left to access the weeks that have been posted. If you are looking for a way to mark the season with your family, I hope you'll feel free to use these posts to make your own season one of preparation and wonder.

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