The following is an introduction to the weekly Family Advent Devotions that I created and will be posting throughout the Advent Season. I hope they are a blessing to you and your family! Feedback is always appreciated!!! 🙂
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 is 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:
The month of December 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 family, in Advent, reflecting and preparing. This devotional resource is intended to give you tools to have family devotions around an Advent Wreath. If you don’t have an Advent wreath, 5 pillar candles (one for each week and one for Christmas) will work as well.
Although there is a devotion for each day, don’t worry if you are unable to come together as a family every single day of Advent. 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. The weekly devotion is the same each night. As we steep in the Word, through repetition we often hear new things and the stories are written differently and more deeply on our hearts.
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.