This painting is by Flemish artist Jean Bellegambe (1480-ca. 1535). It is entitled "Saint Anne Conceiving the Virgin Mary".
To me, this painting signifies so much as we honor the gift of life and honor the Mother who brought the Christ child into this world. This year, I chose to began our Advent season by honoring my own mother and my Grandmother who just passed away. Saint Anne was Jesus' grandmother and this tied into the Advent story we read.
First of all, we begin the first Sunday in Advent and prepare for the Light. I am so excited about this time of year with so many wonderful festivities and celebrations centered around the heart of family.
We made our Advent wreath over the weekend and I'd love to share it with you!
I bought a very inexpensive ring from the craft shop and our colored candles. This year, we will also light a white candle in the middle on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Tony clipped branches off of our evergreens and we collected pine cones and berries to decorate. There are many meanings to each living thing placed on the wreath. The circle itself represents the endlessness of God with no beginning and no end. The live branches represent continuous life - the cedar branches represent strength and healing, the pine represents immortality, the pine cones symbolize life and resurrection and the holly reminds us of the crown of thorns.
On Sunday, we said a special blessing and lit the first of the purple candles. The first light of Advent is the light of stones so we placed special crystals throughout our seasonal areas (more on those as the weeks unfold).
Here is my favorite Rose Quartz crystal.
Each evening, by candlelight we are reading a special story for Advent. We began last night with a beautiful story by Selma Lagerlof from her lovely book, "The Emperor's Vision and other Christ Legends" called "The Holy Night" in which she remembers a priceless moment at a very young age, when her Grandmother stayed with her alone on Christmas morning and told her this tale of the birth of Jesus. I felt it was a perfect way to begin our Advent season after the passing of my own dear Grandmother.
The tale begins as such:
"When I was five years old I had such a great sorrow! I hardly know if I have had a greater since.
It was then my grandmother died. Up to that time, she used to sit every day on the corner sofa in her room, and tell stories.
I remember that grandmother told story after story from morning till night, and that we children sat beside her, quite still, and listened. It was a glorious life! No other children had such happy times as we did."
Such begins the tale...So as this Advent begins, I can't help but think of my Gran, sitting on the girls bed as we read and celebrate this special time with the telling of wonderful stories...