Advent 2018

Happy December! I used to blog. I enjoyed having a place to put ideas and thoughts. I started when I had one kid. She was little. She took a couple naps a day. I would sit and think and sing and record songs and post them. Then I had another kid. I still posted now and then when the house was quiet and I had thoughts I wanted to share. Then I had a third kid. Somehow the house hasn’t been quiet and I’ve had very few thoughts that were worth sharing…

It has been close to 3 years, but I’m thinking I might dust off this old blog and post a few things for Advent. Don’t get your hopes up… I’m notorious for starting with a bang and then losing interest, forgetting what I’ve started and then moving on to the next project. I’m not going to make any promises, but I’m going to get in and start writing and see what happens.

The idea for this blog began with my collection of hymnals. I’ve gathered and read and sung from these books for years. I used to have them all organized on a shelf. Now my 3 and 4 year old boys call them their “Magic Books.” They like to empty the shelves, make stacks of books, and take all around the house, pretending to read their magic spells out of them. They were playing Magic Books the other day and here’s how I found them…


Lots of magic going on that day. Needless to say, these boys have found some additional creative ways to use my collection. I have much less time to look at the hymnals since I’m usually trying to keep up and pick up after these little people! I’m still hoping to post some new Advent hymns this season, though. I’ve been having fun singing and arranging some songs I’ve come across the last few weeks.

At the Henkle house, one way we like to observe Advent is with an Advent wreath. We light one candle each week and read a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. I’m not finished with it yet, but here’s the homemade version we’re using this year…

img_20181201_195011612We also use the Jesse Tree with a daily devotional and some little ornaments the kids can put up each day. I’m fairly new at using a Jesse Tree, so I’ve learned a lot from various websites including¬†this one. At the moment I can’t actually find the ornaments, so I’ll have to do some digging or print some more. You can use a branch, a little Christmas tree, or anything that resembles a branch or a tree. I cut ours out of felt and taped it to the wall in the kitchen.

The last thing I like to do is play and sing through Advent and Christmas hymns. I love discovering new ones and remembering old favorites. This is such a busy season and I’m a disorganized person. Putting these rhythms and rituals in place helps me make sure my family and I check in with what the season is all about. It’s a moving target. We don’t make time to do all of this stuff every day, and everything looks about as good as it will look all season since I just put it out today. Things don’t stay nice and neat for long around here! So my plan is to post some of our Advent adventures here. Feel free to join us. What do you do for Advent? I’d love to hear some of your traditions or ideas!


Ash Wednesday Litany & Hymn

Something about the seasons of the church brings out the blogger in me. Here’s what we’re planning to this afternoon in lieu of an Ash Wednesday service. But let’s be honest… our kids are little. We’ll get through some of it, and then they’ll start running around the house! It’s worth a try, though…

Raya putting ashes on the Dad last year


Read Psalm 51

Ash Wednesday Hymn

Sunday’s Palms Are Wednesday’s Ashes

Text: Rae E. Whitney

Tune: BEACH SPRING attr. to B.F. White


Litany of Penitence  (from the Book of Common Prayer)

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentence, Lord, for the wrongs we have done, for our blindess to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9