Tricky Bits: How to Celebrate Advent
Welcome to What's in the Bible?'s 6-week blog series to help you and your family through the "Tricky Bits" of this holiday season - everything from connecting our modern traditions to their sacred roots to helping you navigate holiday budgets and meal planning! Join our team of writers plus some very special guest bloggers for a Christmas blog series unlike any other.
How To Celebrate Advent
How are you preparing yourself for Christmas? Besides dragging all the ornaments out of the attic, choosing the Christmas tree at the neighborhood lot, and buying presents for family and friends, how else do you prepare for Christmas?
Advent is a season where we spiritually prepare for the coming of the Savior, both in remembrance of His birth and also by looking forward to His second coming! This season is one of prayer, fasting and repentance, which is also filled with anticipation, joy and hope!
Advent begins this Sunday. It is celebrated throughout the month prior to Christmas, starting with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and ending on Christmas Eve.
Many evangelicals don't celebrate Advent because of its roots in Catholicism, but my personal belief is that if something aides us in keeping our focus on Jesus, it's also something that we can partake in without hesitation!
Like in most liturgical practices of the early church, there are symbols of Advent that have carried over into today. The Advent wreath is probably the most well known symbol. The wreath itself is made of evergreens, which symbolize "continuous life in Christ". There are three main colors that are used in many churches to represent the Advent season; pink, purple and white. When you see candles used in Advent wreaths, representing each Sunday of the season, most of the time you'll see three purple candles, one pink candle and one white candle. Every Sunday and on Christmas Eve, one candle is lit and prayers / devotions are said around the wreath by the whole family (or congregation). Each week represents a spiritual element of this time of preparation.
There are many good Advent devotionals found online and at Christian bookstores, and this year What's in the Bible? has created a lovely family devotional, Everyday Emmanuel, which can easily be downloaded and utilized by even the youngest family members!
1st week of Advent (purple candle) represents HOPE. Romans 15:12-13
2nd week of Advent (purple candle) represents PREPARATION. Luke 3: 4-6
3rd week of Advent (pink candle) represents JOY. Luke 2: 7-15
4th week of Advent (purple candle) represents LOVE. John 3:16-17
5th candle (Christmas Eve) represents CHRIST...the spotless Lamb of God. John 1:29 and John 3: 1-8.
Do you use an Advent wreath in your home as part of your Christmas preparation? Maybe you have other traditions of your own weekly celebrations that you can add! We'd love to hear about them!
Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women's groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.