My parents host weekly Sunday dinners on each of the four Sundays of Advent. This tradition began about the time I was finishing up my college degree and continues for them to this day.
My parents were intentionally slowing down and celebrating the season in a meaningful way. For several hours on each Sunday of Advent, they enjoyed an extended afternoon of relaxing together. Advent dinners were another great reason to gather together all of their children, who were slowly leaving the nest. And it worked.
But like many extended family traditions, our move to Raleigh changed everything. A five-hour drive was not going to be possible for our family each Sunday.
That left us with a decision: Would the Advent dinner tradition continue in our own home?
Short answer: Yes. Yes, it would.
As our first Christmas in Raleigh approached, my kids began to create guest lists. We were a bit surprised. We had only lived in the area for 4 months, but they never even questioned the continuation of this tradition.
We realized that Advent dinners had become an important part of the Christmas season for our kids, and we decided to continue them at our home in Raleigh.
Our first Advent dinner took place on foldable tables and a random assortment of chairs from around the house because we didn’t have a dining table.
Since then, we have purchased and painted a dining room table though we still have to gather lots of extra chairs. But the tradition continues each year.
Each Sunday evening our family and friends gather around simple homecooked meals. I don’t mind cooking, but I don’t love cooking so the food is typically kid-friendly and easy. Advent dinners menus are typically tacos, chili, pulled pork, or Italian.
Of course, we always enjoy our food on the fanciest of dishes and the matching beverage glasses.
What I love most about this tradition is the gathering with friends throughout the busy month of December.
Advent Dinner Tradition
Before eating, we begin with scripture reading and the lighting of the Advent Candle.
Each week of Advent has a special focus represented by a candle on the wreath:
Week One – Hope – Purple Candle
Week Two – Peace – Purple Candle
Week Three – Joy – Pink Candle
Week Four – Love – Purple Candle
Christmas Day – Christ – White Candle
The kids present take part in reading and lighting the candles.
After dinner, we enjoy conversation and games followed by dessert. I hope this simple, but meaningful tradition continues as my children enter adulthood.
Resources for Advent
There are lots of choices when it comes to Advent Wreaths.
Advent candles come in packs of 4 or 5. We prefer to use 5 because it includes the Christ Candle.
Ann Voskamp releases a video each week of Advent and writes her thoughts on her blog.
Background information on Advent can be found in this post.
This Advent home worship guide can be modified for weekly Advent dinners. Scriptures and thoughts are included and can be adapted for a shorter reading if needed.
Enjoy the Advent Season.
This post is Day One of the 5 Days of Meaningful Christmas Traditions. Stay tuned for four more days and learn about four more of our family’s traditions.