We Need a little Christmas

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity or Birth of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word "adventus", meaning "coming." The progression of the season may be marked with an Advent calendar, a practice introduced by German Lutherans. At least in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

This year Advent begins on December 2nd (Two Days Away!). My hope is to provide you with a small devotional for each week. My family and I usually celebrate using a "home-made" Advent wreath. An evergreen wreath, 5 candle holders, 1 pink candle, 3 purple candles, and 1 white candle. Styles may vary and all items can commonly be found at your local dollar store. I guess you could buy one as well (see links below), but where is the fun in that?

What is the deal with the wreath? During the season of Advent one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent celebration. The circle of evergreen in which the candles are placed represents everlasting life. Each candle represents an event that happened prior to the birth of Jesus.
  • First Sunday: December 2, 2012 - The "Prophecy Candle" (first purple candle) in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
  • Second Sunday: December 9, 2012 - The "Bethlehem Candle" (second purple candle) is lit. This candle typically represents love and symbolizes Christ's manger.
  • Third Sunday: December 16, 2012 - The "Shepherds Candle" (pink, or rose-colored candle) is lit and represents joy.
  • Fourth Sunday: December 23, 2012 - The "Angels Candle" (third purple candle) is lit and represents peace.
  • Christmas Eve: December 24, 2012 - The "Christ Candle" (white center candle) is lit and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior.
If you can't find specific colored candles, you can use just red in place of the pink and purple. Children who are old enough can take turns lighting the candles and we usually let the one who did not light them blow them out after our devotion time.

Want to join in on our celebration? Get your wreath together and keep reading.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" 
(Luke 2:11, ESV).

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