By Lara Greene
A colleague of mine described ritual as a “holy habit.” I can credit one such habit to my mom. I have vivid memories of my family having an Advent wreath in our home every year before Christmas. Often, it was beautifully set in our dining room with glass ornaments. I recall with great pride when our family stood before the church to light the Advent candle and my parents read the accompanying prayer.
Observing Lent and Advent were newer traditions for my lifer-Methodist parents, and I’m not sure we always lit the pink one on the proper week, but I always associated the season with those candles, and knew that Christmas was about something more than my stocking’s surprises. The first year I lived alone, I went from store to store in Houston to find a candle wreath, some greenery and candles for my apartment kitchen table. As a family of one, I found comfort in the ritual of the light and taking time to be with God and reflect for a moment on Christ’s presence.
Now, with my family of four, I make sure to bring out our wreath first, and place it in the heart of our home (the crowded, sticky kitchen table) where we can be reminded to stop at least once a week to breathe and pray and connect. I hope to instill in our children an appreciation of stillness, and I hope my mother can look down and be pleased to see the good habit she passed on to her grandchildren.