In honor of today being the first official day of the Advent Season (no… it doesn’t start on Sunday, it’s starts on Thursday… who knew right?) I decided to share some information on what Advent is, how to make the season a part of our everyday lives, and the tradition of having an Advent Wreath. ENJOY AND HAPPY ADVENT!!! (Make sure to check back tomorrow… will be posting Week #1 of the Advent Devotions I created. ___________________________________________________________________________
ADVENT – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?:
The four weeks before Christmas mark the season of Advent, from a Latin word for “coming” or “arrival.” We are preparing to celebrate the arrival of God himself, who became man in the form of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The church has observed a season of preparation before Christmas since the time of Bishop Perpetuus of Tours in 490 C.E.
The themes of Advent include hope, darkness/light, repentance, watchfulness, preparation, expectation of Christ’s birth at Christmas, & the anticipation of his coming again.
The colors of the season are blue or in some instances, purple. Blue suggests hope. Purple is an older tradition that represents royalty and the coming of a king.
ADVENT AT HOME:
Advent is a busy time. These four weeks are filled with church services, concerts, parties, cleaning, decorating, etc…. It can be exhausting and frustrating, but it’s exciting too!
I encourage you all to spend time as a individuals or as a family reflecting and preparing. I created Advent Devotionals that I will post each week and are intended to give you tools to have family devotions around an Advent Wreath. (My congregation makes them each year.)
Although there is a devotion for each day, don’t worry if you cannot have them each day. Even once a week is a wonderful recognition of the season and will help prepare your family. The Sunday devotions are slightly longer so this would be a good option for weekly rather than nightly devotions.
Devotions are one way to reinforce Advent at home. Some additional ways to incorporate Advent into your home life are:
* Caring Conversations: While decorating your house and tree, discuss that decorating is
part of our preparation and anticipation of Christ’s coming.
* Service: Find time to serve others and discuss Christ’s service to us. (Ring bells for
Salvation Army; volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen; donate old toys to Goodwill or a
Domestic Violence Shelter.)
* Rituals & Traditions: We all have rituals and traditions surrounding the season. (Baking
goodies; decorating; Christmas Caroling; etc…) Keep doing what you have always done!
Discuss WHY you do it… where it came from… who started it.
THE ORIGINS OF THE ADVENT WREATH:
The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light.
Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From Germany, the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world.
Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. Three candles are violet or blue and the fourth is rose or purple, but four white candles or four violet candles can also be used. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal– one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th.