Liturgical Living is something I’ve been really getting into lately.
While I am decidedly not the greatest at it (I just got my advent candles out tonight and still don’t have a wreath for them), there is a lot a beauty in bringing the rhythms and rituals of the church into your home.
I know Advent has already started, but it’s never too late to start Advent traditions, new or old. Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate liturgical living in Advent and ways you can incorporate the liturgy into your home life.
1. Advent Midweek Services
Midweek services on Wednesdays are some of my favorite parts of Advent and Lent. They’re such a nice break at the end of the day, and that’s something we as moms often need.
Take this past Wednesday, for example.
By the time we reached suppertime, my husband and I were both exhausted and our son was cranky because he could tell his parents were on edge.
It seemed like the evening was just going to keep going downhill because we were all very “done” with the day.
But it was Wednesday, so it was church night. I know, adding getting ready for church doesn’t reduce the amount of stress. But once we were there, I forgot what I was so worked up about.
I don’t remember much of the sermon because I was preoccupied by a toddler, but I do know that a change of scenery, some Bible readings, and some glorious Advent hymns were just what I needed to refocus my eyes on Jesus instead of myself.
It’s almost like that’s the whole goal of Advent…
2. Advent Wreath
This is my first year having Advent candles, and I’m honestly not even doing that well at using them.
The other day I was talking about why I haven’t started them yet (5 days in), and what came out of my mouth was a whole list of excuses.
- I got them late (Monday after the First Sunday in Advent)
- I don’t have candle holders
- I don’t have a wreath
- I don’t have a clue what to do for a devotion
And this, my friends, is why I’ve never gotten started with this whole “liturgical living” thing before. Because I keep coming up with excuses.
The nice thing about being Lutheran is that we don’t have to worry about if we do everything “perfectly”. We just do our best to do what we can.
Even if you haven’t started or you meant to start and got off track, it’s never too late to start or resume family devotions or an Advent wreath or anything else you’d like to do to live liturgically.
That’s the beauty of Advent. It’s a season to slow down, get rid of the extra things in your schedule, and make time for those things you’ve put off because you were too busy with other things.
Even if you don’t have time to add another half hour long thing to your day, read a couple verses from an Advent Devotional and light the candles on your Advent wreath while you eat supper. Advent doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of extra time.
3. Advent Calendar/Jesse Tree
I’ve seen a lot of stores (like Aldi!) selling Advent calendars recently. They’re pretty easy to find these days, especially if you want one centered around food.
While I think the general population tends to use these as a countdown to Christmas, Advent calendars can help us as Christians keep our focus on the journey to the manger.
I’m in the process of making our Jesse Tree ornaments for this year (yes, it’s December 5th haven’t been started). I plan on putting up a post about them when I get them finished, but for now, here’s a progress shot.
I’m making them out of felt this year, so the plan is from them to double as non-breakable ornaments to decorate our Christmas/Advent tree.
4. Blue (or Purple) Decorations
Okay, so this one isn’t very complicated in my house, especially since blue and purple are two of my favorite colors (along with green, so I have like half or more of the church year covered).
Whether you completely switch out your artwork or you just change some throw pillows and a blanket, matching your decorations at home to the current church season can be an awesome way to remind you which season you’re currently in.
5. Traditional Recipes
Making traditional recipes for saint days (no, they’re not just for Catholics) and holidays can tie you to both your spiritual and physical heritages if you’re from a heritage that has passed on those types of recipes.
For example, if you’re celebrating St. Lucia, a Swedish saint, you could make the tradition Lucia Buns.
The same goes for a French saint, Spanish saint, etc. Be creative! If you don’t know where a particular saint was from, look them up!
Tessa over at the Homemaking Muench has an amazing newsletter/periodical she started full of ways to celebrate Advent. It has a recipe for Luciakatter (Lucia Buns), and I can’t wait to try it. (By the way, she and I are like the same person and her blog is awesome, so you should go check her blog out when you have time!)
If you’re not the baking type or don’t have the time to bake or cook something, you can always add some festive cheer to your normal foods with decorations or cookie cutters.
6. Listen to/sing Advent hymns
My favorite resource for this is Lutheran Public Radio. If you’re not Lutheran, that’s okay. Advent music is for everyone.
Listening to Advent music can also go hand in hand with waiting for Christmas music until the Christmas season. We wait to sing our Alleluias until Easter, so why celebrate Christmas all through Advent?
I can understand practicing with a choir for your Christmas service, but in normal daily life (just as in our Sunday services), there’s just something so special about having a clear difference between Advent and Chrismtas based on the music we listen to.
The nice thing about technology is that you can listen music without having to play it all yourself. You can certainly play yours on piano or another instrument if you want to, but I love turning on LPR while I’m working on projects or chores.
7. St. Nicholas’ Day!
I’m hoping to start this tradition this year. Traditionally, on the evening before St. Nicholas’ Day, everyone in the family puts out a pair of shoes. When they wake up the next morning, they have gifts “from” St. Nicholas!
This is in memory of when Nicholas gave portions of his inheritance to a family with three daughters because they didn’t have money to pay the dowry to get married.
This is where the modern tradition of stockings is based, and it’s such a cool way to remember the real story of St. Nicholas as a man who loved God and wanted to extend that love to help others.
8. Wait to Decorate for Christmas
While I certainly don’t mean that you have to wait to get a tree or put yours up, waiting to decorate your tree with Christmas decorations can have an effect very similar to keeping Christmas music and paraments confined to their appropriate season. That way, they don’t wear out their wonder by the time December 25 comes along.
Like I mentioned it the Jesse Tree section above, we are decorating our tree for Advent throughout the month by hanging up those ornaments. If I have enough white or gold felt left, I’m going to try and make some Christmas ornaments to add as well!
What have we learned from this blog post? I’m not the greatest at keeping up with Advent traditions, as much as I’d like to. I’m trying, though.
So do as I say, not as I do. Look back at the list of ideas above for incorporating Advent into your home, and add one or two of them. Then add more if you want to.
If you want more ideas for liturgical living, or just like looking at pretty pictures, check out these lovely ladies’ blogs and Instagram accounts!
- The Homemaking Muench (Blog and Instagram)
- Beholding Our Own (IG)
- Concordia Collective (IG)
- Ordinary Time Podcast (IG and soon to be podcast!)
- Ladies of the LCMS (IG)
What are your favorite liturgical ways to celebrate Advent? Which traditions would you like to start but haven’t yet?