Today is the second Sunday in Advent. Read about the meaning of the Advent Wreath and the first week here. This second Sunday, the first and second violet candles are lighted and left burning during the evening meal. Today we sing the second verse of O, Come, O Come, Emmanuel, or the first two verses may be sung. (Or all of them, if you are really into singing!) A brief prayer is said, then the scripture readings. Readings today are Isaiah 7, verse 14 and Matthew 1, verses 18-25. Once again, the old testament for the prophesy of the coming of the Christ Child and the new testament verses to describe the fulfillment of the prophesy.
One Christmas Tradition we have followed since our children were very young is our Christmas Eve ceremony. This is a personal ceremony that we devised ourselves. On Christmas Eve, after the evening meal is finished and all the dishes are cleaned up and put away, we all gather at the dining room table. Each person has a white candle and a nativity figurine. We light the candles from the lighted Advent Wreath. Then, taking the candles, we make a procession through the house, led by me, the mother, then the children, with the father, Joe, concluding the line. I am carrying Mary, the mother of God, and Joe is carrying the Christ Child.
We walk slowly through all the rooms on the first floor, carrying the candles and nativity figures. All the while we are singing Silent Night. At the end we pause before the Christmas tree. A blessing is said upon the tree and the household, then we proceed back to the dining room where the manger is waiting. We place the figures, one at a time, into the manger and say another prayer. Then we sit down around the table with two leaves added to it (to make room for the grandchildren) and sing Christmas carols. We all have a (homemade) songbook. Everyone takes a turn picking a Christmas song that we all sing together. We sing until we can sing no more. Christmas Eve wouldn’t be the same at our house without our ceremony. I think it is beautiful.