This is Advent

“I do it!”

Charlotte’s pointing to the lighter. Our floating candles move gently in the water. Green and red garland surrounds the bowl. Our makeshift Advent wreath sits in the center of the table. We’re almost finished with dinner - at least the kids - food is being pushed away and thrown. My food turns cold. We’ve forgotten to light the Advent wreath. But Charlotte will not be deterred. She’s pointing and exclaiming: “I do it,” while Isaac blows towards the candles.

“How many candles do we light tonight?”

“EEE!” Charlotte cheers and and holds up her fingers.

We all count together.


“We’re getting closer to welcoming baby Jesus.”

“Away, away, away,” we hear in Charlotte’s sing-song voice. She’s bouncing back and forth with what we can only guess is her singing Away in a Manger. A huge smiles graces her face. We didn’t teach her the song. We’re assuming she learned it at preschool. Or perhaps Sunday school. Or maybe it’s been in the recesses of her brain from Christmases past and just waiting to come out.

She’s delighted to share this musical offering with us. We sing the first verse and leave spaces for her to offer the words she can speak.

Away in a manger no crib for a BED. The little Lord JESUS lay down his sweet HEAD. The STARS in the SKY look down where he LAY. The little Lord JESUS asleep on the HAY.

We’re all smiling now.

By this time, the candles still glowing, Isaac is completely done with dinner and has thrown his plates and cup. (We’re hoping this is just a phase) He’s squirming in his chair yelling, “Out! Out!” Charlotte leaves the table and starts playing with her trains. This really makes Isaac mad. He is beyond done and can’t stand that his sister gets to play and he’s still strapped in his chair. I grab a washcloth and hand it to Charlotte to wipe Isaac’s face. He fusses even more. As I pull him from the chair the dog can’t wait to start cleaning the crumbs and licking his clothes.

I place Isaac on the floor and he’s off. He grabs the train Charlotte put down. Now it’s her turn to scream. “My chooch, my!” I take a few more bites of my cold food.

The candles shine brightly; this is Advent

Moments of joy and song. Moments of tears and sadness. Pride in speaking words on one’s own. Helping one another to tell the story. Waiting expectantly for Jesus to come. Seeing the faces of loved ones glowing in the light.

Trusting that Jesus is here.