(complete with fun quotes from Divine Intimacy!)
Advent and Christmas are probably by far my favorite Liturgical Season in the Church calendar. I LOVE the music we sing at Mass, the beautiful decorations, teaching the kids the importance of waiting and preparing for the birth of Our Lord, and doing the Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath with the kids. It always brings me back to a more consistent prayer life, and it just really warms my soul. The only thing that ruins it is the immense stress that the commercialization of Christmas puts on this time of year. While spiritually speaking, Advent and Christmas are the most joyful for me, all the outside stuff just raises my anxiety to levels that I hate. So, every year I try to keep focus and not let the stress overwhelm me, but it's just so hard!
"Sin made an insurmountable abyss between Man and God, and man groaned in the depths of the abyss, utterly incapable of rising from it."
As Advent always has a way of doing, it totally snuck (sneaked??) up on me this year! You would think I would learn from years past, but of course I don't. The first Sunday of Advent came, and I found myself sending Phil up into the attic at dinner time to pull out the Advent Wreath, candles, and Jesse Tree supplies. "All I found was this", he says as he comes down from the attic holding nothing but a metal ring with holes. Great...no candles, no Jesse Tree garland, and no Jesse Tree ornaments. "What happened to all those cool ornaments you made with the kids last year?", he asks. (Why does he ask me these things?! I know he knows me better than that.) "I have no idea." is my reply. Ok...fine...we'll skip the Advent candles tonight, and I have until December 1st to figure out the Jesse Tree ensemble...right on par with my procrastinating nature.
"To do what man could not do, to destroy sin and restore divine sonship to the human race, a Savior was promised."
So, it's the Monday after the First Sunday of Advent, and the kids and I are off to Dollar General to gather supplies (after we finish school, of course ;). We pick out some cute garland to go around the wreath, a few new ornaments for the Christmas Tree (no, we have not gotten one just yet...Advent is about waiting, after all ;), and then we head over to the candle aisle. All they have are white candles. No problem! I have a plan for just this incident. I found it over at the Catholic Icing blog!! I'm actually kind of excited, because painting with melted crayons sounds really fun! So, we head home with our supplies, and get to work.
"God wants us 'all to be saved'; for this reason He gave us His Son, and with Him and through Him, all the means necessary for our salvation. Therefore, if a soul is not saved, it alone will be responsible."
First, find a handful of purple and pink crayons, and peel them...6 year old little girls are amazing for this task =):
Different shades of purple are just fine. I used a metal measuring cup to melt them in:
Melt the wax on the stove. I wouldn't recommend swirling the cup around to mix the wax...it will probably spill onto the burner...just saying:
This next step is EXTREMELY crucial. Have a toddler break one of your candles:
Now onto the fun part! Put some wax paper down, and get ready to paint:
The nice thing about this project was that the crayon wax dried IMMEDIATELY, so it was not as messy as I expected it to be. And, it made it easier to paint the entire candle in one sitting, without getting wax everywhere:
All done with the purple candles!:
Repeat for the pink candle, and you're all set:
I realize these are not the most gorgeous and smooth candles you've ever seen, but it was perfect for the kids. Sometimes, it's better for them to be able to be a part of things than to have things done perfectly.
Here is our completed wreath, with the garland Natalie picked out. I had trouble getting the lighting just right for a good picture, but you get the idea. I also used a bit of play dough in the holes for the candles, because they were just a tad small for the hole...the dough helps keep the candles from wobbling too much:
The candles are working out beautifully! I may let them do this every year, just because it was fun and they really enjoyed it. Tonight, we'll start on our Jesse Tree and Advent chain. Post on that to come later. Happy Advent everyone!!
"'Christ has called the whole human race to the lofty heights of sanctity.... There are some who say that sanctity is not everyone's vocation; on the contrary, it is everyone's vocation, and all are called to it.... Jesus Christ has given Himself as an example for all to imitate.'"