Tiffany LovegroveNovember 29, 2022
Bringing Christmas into the home by creating a beautiful focal point is a wonderful and nourishing thing we can do as caregivers to young children!
By setting up a special display to celebrate the rhythms of the year, we hold an important space for children that grounds them, knowing that they too are deeply connected to cultural, seasonal, and cosmic rhythms which come around again and again.
What is Advent? It refers to ‘that which is coming’ and specifically it is the time (in the northern hemisphere) of waiting for the shortest day to pass and the turning of the earth toward the longer days of light ahead. This together with the light embodied by the birth of the Christ Child, brings us a picture of hope and love for our world and each other.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which in 2022 is Sunday 27th November.
In the nativity story, we witness Joseph and Mary’s journeying through the Four Kingdoms of the natural world in which we live and upon which we depend, as they make their way to Bethlehem. This is captured in the story book ‘The Light in the Lantern.’ Read one story each night which speak to the Mineral, Plant, Animal and Human realms, as the Christmas story unfolds.
We love sharing with you some examples of creating an Advent table based around the Four Kingdoms – maybe you could share yours with us on the Honeybee Hive Facebook Group?!
The Grimm’s Ring is a multi-purpose foundation piece you can use for seasonal displays, birthdays or other cultural occasions in your home.
These reflections italicised below are from “Thoughts about an Advent Festival” by Stephen Spitalny, published in Waldorf Today:
“During Advent, we can deepen our relationship to the world around us through recognizing the strength and beauty in all the four kingdoms of the natural world. The first week is related to the mineral kingdom, the physical foundation for life. The mineral world gives us a fixed stage, a basis for our ever-changing existence. Without the mineral world we would have no ground to stand on ….. All the kingdoms of nature contribute to our existence. We all have mineral, plant and animal aspects surrounding and supporting the flame of our individual human spirit, this flame that is the essence of what it is to be human. Advent can move us toward a deeper understanding of our place in the universe, of all that supports us and all that we aspire to, as well as all that needs our protection and support.”
In the first week, we will add some simple gifts from nature representing the Mineral Kingdom: shells, stones, crystals or little bones.
Each week of Advent light one new candle on the ring (four in total over the course of four Sundays).
Week 2: We honour the Plant Kingdom “from which we receive nourishment from living forces. Earth, rain, light and warmth create a balance of growth and decay. The plant world has life that distinguishes it from the mineral world. It is life itself which human beings share with the plants.”
The third week of Advent brings us to the Animal Kingdom.
“We share our capacity for movement and feelings with the animal kingdom. In this week of Advent we are reminded of our relationship with the birds, beasts and other members of the animal kingdom and how they reflect our most basic soul states.”
In the final week there is a great sense of fulfilment culminating in the arrival of the human forms. Make your own simple nativity set as a handcraft activity using felt and fleece, or invest in what will be a cherished family set from Ostheimer or Evi.
Each week you might like to speak the relevant part of this verse given by Rudolf Steiner as you add elements of the four kingdoms to your table:
The first light of Advent is the light of stone,
stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants,
plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts,
all await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind.
The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand.
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