“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…”
During the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, while the world is frantically shopping and spending money, the Church observes Advent. Advent is a time of anticipation and spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Each of the four weeks of Advent symbolizes a millennium of Old Testament history, anticipating the coming of the Promised Messiah.
When our children were young, we did a couple things during the month of December to celebrate the Advent season ourselves.
First, we hung an Advent Calendar on the wall with Scripture readings for each day of Advent, from December 1st through December 25th. Each night before dinner, one of the children read the Scripture passage for that day. Secondly, we placed an Advent wreath on our dinner table. We lit the Advent candles on Saturdays and discussed the traditional meanings of each candle. Then after lighting the candles, we ate dinner by candlelight. The kids especially enjoyed the candlelight dinners.
The symbolism of Advent wreath and candles is very meaningful...
The wreath is a circle, symbolizing God’s unending love.
The evergreens that decorate the wreath symbolize eternal life
The first candle is the “Prophet’s Candle” and symbolizes hope.
The second candle is the “Bethlehem Candle” symbolizing faith.
The third candle is the “Shepherd’s Candle,” and symbolizes joy.
The fourth candle is the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolizing peace.
And the fifth candle (the white candle in the center of the wreath) is the “Christ Candle,” symbolizing Jesus, the Light of the World
We enjoyed celebrating Advent as a family. It was a way to pass on our faith. As God gave the nation of Israel several feasts to help them remember some mileposts in their history and look forward to the Coming Messiah, Advent is similar. Through Advent, we remember the first Advent of Jesus 2,000 years ago and we look forward to His Second Advent in the near future.
What I like most about Advent is the reminder all month that Christmas is not just about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, stockings, and presents. Christmas is about Christ.
How will you focus on the Christ of Christmas this Christmas season?
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