Winter is quickly approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and the world of nature appears to be going to sleep. The daylight hours are growing shorter and we experience long nights of darkness. The celebration of Advent, filled with expectation, is a time of moving through the darkness toward the yearly rebirth of the light, when the days begin to grow longer. The word “advent” means arriving, and this season is celebrated in many traditions as the time of waiting which precedes the arrival of light in the midst of the dark winter. It is a time of hope and anticipation within a time of mystery and quiet contemplation.
Advent season is also a tool that invites people of all faith to deepen their spirituality, understanding of themselves and others, and our place in the universe. It challenges us to grow our connection to the world, the rocks and minerals, plants and animals.
At the Minnesota Waldorf School we mark the four weeks of Advent in the classroom. Beginning the week of December 4, we may light a candle on our Advent wreath, perhaps open a window on our Advent calendar, and recite a special verse. Each week we honor a different kingdom of nature: mineral, plant, animal and human, until at last, we have completed the circle. (To access all four Advent verses, click here.)
At Friday Gathering December 8 and 15 we will sing and hear stories that evoke the mood of this special time of year. You are welcome to join us!
- Week 1: The Mineral Kingdom Grades Verse The first Light of Advent Glows warmly in stones, Glimmering in crystals And seashells and bones.
Early Childhood Verse: The first light of Advent Is the light of the stones Light that shines through Seashells, crystals and bones.
- Week 2: The Plant Kingdom Grades Verse The second Light of Advent Breathes brightly through plants Weaving living sunlight In the world’s wide expanse.
Early Childhood Verse: The second light of Advent Is the light of the plants Plants that reach to the sun, And in the breezes, dance.
- Week 3: The Animal Kingdom Grades Verse The third Light of Advent Through animals sings As the light of their eyes And the rhythm of wings.
Early Childhood Verse: The third light of Advent Is the light of the beasts The light of hope that shines, In the greatest and the least.
- Week 4: Humankind Grades Verse The fourth Light of Advent In the human soul is borne As the Child of Holy Love On Blessed Christmas Morn.
Early Childhood Verse: The fourth light of Advent Is the light of man The light that shines love to give and understand.
In the dark of night, the spiral path of evergreen boughs leads to a light shining from the center. Each child, carrying a candle, travels alone to light their candle. As they move out along the spiral, they place their candle along the path, its single light joining with others to create an ever-strengthening glow. Growing out of autumn’s deepening inwardness, there begins to stir a longing, an expectation, a hope. Advent is a time of looking forward, of anticipation, of preparation for the return of the light. We are looking towards the midnight of the year, and to that turning point when the shortest day is past and the sun turns earthward again with the promise of light, warmth and life renewed.We have entered into these darkest days of the year strengthened by Michaelmas and ignited in compassion by Martinmas. With the Advent Spiral we begin the next journey of the festival cycle.
Grades Advent Spiral: Festival Hall
Wednesday December 6th, 6 pm
Early Childhood Advent Spiral: Festival Hall
Tuesday December 5th, Preschool 8:45am, Kindergarten 10am
We will hold the grades Advent Spiral inside. Children will gather first in their classrooms before 6 pm, entering by the door closest to their classroom. Parents are invited to enter through the main doors and seat themselves in the darkened Festival Hall. Teachers will communicate further details regarding the children.
The atmosphere of this festival is quiet, peaceful, and reverent. Creating such an atmosphere at home and in the car both before and after the ceremony enriches the experience. Please refer to communications from the EC teachers to learn more.