Advent and why we wait to put up our tree

By Dawn Cusimano, NolaCatholic.org

Our new baby is due in January, right after the new year, and one question everybody seems to ask is, “Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?” The answer is, “Not yet.” Most often, we get the response of, “Why? Don’t you want to know?” 

Of course, we want to know! And we will … just a few weeks later. 

I love babies! And I love surprises! I think it’s fun to wait with anticipation for what is coming soon.

It’s similar to how we celebrate Advent in our house. We wait.

Please don’t think I don’t love Christmas! It’s my favorite time of year. I’m not anti-Christmas decorations either, but for the past several years, we have delayed getting our tree and decorating our house so that we could pause and reflect on the “waiting” part of Advent. 

During that wait we are better able to focus with our children on the “reason for the season.” 

Beginning on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we put out only our Advent wreath on the kitchen table. At dinner time, we light one new candle each week, and after our family prayer time, the kids take turns blowing out the flames. 

There are other nice, meaningful ways to practice waiting and focusing on Jesus’s coming. 

For example, we have friends who gradually add ornaments to a Jesse Tree to remind them of the genealogy of Christ. 

Many families set up a Nativity scene in a prominent place in their home. Others have a tradition of wrapping up the baby Jesus figure from the Nativity and then unwrapping it as the first gift on Christmas morning.

Each of these is a wonderful way to celebrate Advent and Christmas.

When we finally make it to the week of Christmas, we go get our tree and decorate it.

But after Christmas Day, there is no rush to take it down, because after all, there are 12 days of Christmas. After that, we get to celebrate the Epiphany and eat king cake. 

Dawn Cusimano loves sharing her faith with her growing family. She is happily married for 12 years to David, and living in a semi-clean home, with four kids who eat lots of cereal. Baby No. 5 is due in January. This is her second year on a homeschooling adventure involving multiple, extended,  international family trips with, hopefully, more to come.  Dawn enjoys swimming, reading, traveling, baking and playing games with her kids.

Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit the blog featuring three new posts a week at www.nolacatholicparenting.org.

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