Celebrating the Season of Advent

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Many families have enjoyed the tradition of celebrating Advent for generations. Some light candles every week, say specially written prayers, or even follow along using a fun, candy filled calendar during the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

The word “advent” is Latin for “a coming” or “an arrival’. The concept of Advent is based on God coming to earth and living among us, which is pretty exciting news!  It’s definitely something to celebrate and rejoice in! The birth of Jesus became the great rescue plan that is spoken about so much in the What’s in the Bible series.  Advent is a time in which we prayerfully prepare ourselves for this greatest of gifts– the birth of our Savior.

During this season, we thank God for Christ’s first coming, prepare for his final coming at the end of time, and celebrate Christ’s presence among us today through the Spirit.  It is a time for deep reflection, prayer and looking back into the Old Testament Scriptures that foretold the coming of the Savior– fulfilled in Jesus.

A common Advent tradition is that of the Advent wreath. The wreath is made of evergreen branches with four candleholders and candles. Each candle representing a week, starting on or around the last Sunday in November.  Since in Advent we’re waiting for the Christ child, there needs to be a ceremonial way to mark the time and make us aware of the wait. Lighting a candle reminds us of Christ as light of the world. As the candle is lit, it’s customary to sing a verse or two of “O Come O Come Emmanuel”. One candle is lit for each Sunday in Advent: one on the first Sunday, two on the second, and so on.

The liturgical color of candles used for Advent is violet (except for the Third Week of Advent, often called Gaudete Sunday, in which rose may be used), and the season is somewhat penitential, similar to Lent, although not so explicit and emphatic.  The use of violet reflects the general themes of Advent: penitence (generally expressed more in terms of expectant hope) and royalty.

But if you don’t have the wreath or the right colors of candles, you need not worry.  This is more about the preparation of our inner self for the birth of the Savior. Some people use red and green candles…some use all white… but purple and rose are the more traditional colors. Whatever you use, it remains a time for reflection, and another opportunity where we can come together as a family for song and reading of Scripture.

If you and your family make celebrating Advent as one of your traditions, we’d love to hear about it.  How do you celebrate this liturgical season?

Maybe you’re interested in reading more information about celebrating the Advent season in your own home. Here is an online site that will give you daily prayers and ideas to follow.

An Advent Prayer of Hope:

Lord Jesus Christ,
who is, who was, and who is to come,
we pray for the virtue of hope,
that amidst the trials and difficulties
of this world,
we may keep our hearts fixed
upon you, who reigns over the cosmos.
May your grace enliven us,
strengthen us,
and defend us,
as we await your coming in glory. Amen

 

Additional Christmas resources from What’s In The Bible?

 

Your family can learn more about the history of Christmas, and how Santa Claus, Christmas Trees and many of our modern holiday traditions point back to Jesus in Phil Vischer’s Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas? Now streaming on JellyTelly!

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10 comments
denisef
denisef

We have a knitted nativity set with 24 pieces - one for each day in December. We also have a book which goes with each character, telling the Christmas story from their perspective. Every evening we sit down for a story together and add another character to our nativity scene.

Shalu Yadav
Shalu Yadav

Jesus come soon with lots off happiness in my life. Today show your bless n miracal to me . amen

Amanda
Amanda

We also use an advent wreath. Every Monday night in advent we have a special dinner. There are four people in my family, so each person gets to pick the menu for our night's special dinner and gets to invite a guest. The night of the dinner I cook whatever the menu planner chooses, set the table with special Christmas dishes, we light the appropriate candles for the week and eat by candlelight. It's been a great way to keep our focus on the birth of Christ and to remind us to prepare for his return. It's a tangible reminder of the light Christ brings into our lives. The first week of Advent we are eating in very little light, but by Christmas eve (when we light the Christ candle in the center of the wreath and eat a special dessert before going to Christmas eve worship) the room seems ablaze with candle light. Also during advent we decorate our Christmas tree with Chrismons (Christ + Monogram) which are different symbols of our faith. As we put the ornaments on the tree we talk about what each one means.

Lisa S.
Lisa S.

Some people may want to know what a "Jesse Tree" is, and how it is incorporated into Advent. Here's a link I found that explains it much more eloquently than I can. http://www.crivoice.org/jesse.html

Kara @ Home With Purpose
Kara @ Home With Purpose

We do an Advent wreath and calendar and Jesse Tree also. I love how the Jesse Tree shows the "big story" of the Bible, just like WITB!

Jamie
Jamie

We celebrate Advent with our kids through the lighting of the Advent wreath, but this year, we have added something extra. We are doing a devotion each night on a Jesse Tree, which seems to be a tradition common to the Catholic tradition (though we are not Catholic). It connects the Old Testament to the birth of Christ, much like the WITB series does. As a matter of fact, they've known every story so far, and when I ask them where they learned it, they say "What's in the Bible?"!