During a break while I was leading a congregational training, a woman came up to me to tell her own story of a family liturgy, something I had just described to the group. Each night when she and her husband go to bed, her husband leans over, gives her a kiss and says, “See you in the morning or, if not, see you later.” What a lovely affirmation of love and faith expressed daily (nightly) between this older couple.
All households develop liturgies over time, words and gestures that ground relationships in deeper meaning, hope, and love. These liturgies can include familiar words from the Bible, worship services, or simply language developed over time in the home. In my home, my wife Gloria and I exchange blessings, especially before travel that separates us through distance and time. We will make the sign of the cross on each other’s forehead and say, “God bless you as a child of God,” or perhaps, “May the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” a favorite verse from Colossians 3. Family and friends develop a variety of ways to communicate care, faith, and deeper core values through the gestures and words they use that I call family liturgies.
Advent, which, yes, is just around the corner, is a wonderful time to claim faith-filled rituals and traditions for the home. Vibrant Faith Ministries has developed an Advent devotional (click here) called “Taking the Advent Story Home” as a gift to anyone who would like to journey through Advent using the Four Keys (caring conversations, devotions, service, and rituals and traditions). Advent (and the rest of the seasons of the church year) serves as a gift to our daily life relationships by helping us reclaim the faith life in the home, 24-7. It is an opportunity to reclaim practices that we will sometimes acknowledge by saying, “We used to do that.” Well, here is a chance to do it again, to gladly practice faith traditions in our homes, including family liturgies, that express deeper meaning, hope, and love in Christ.
What are some of the faith practices you have associated with Advent over the years? What are some “family liturgies” you and your loved ones have used together?