Thursday, December 3, 2009

Observing Advent



Hi, Terri Reed here. The first Sunday in December is rapidly approaching which means the beginning of Advent. I'd never heard of Advent until about ten years ago when I bought a book titled, The 25 Days of Christmas by Rebecca Hayford Bauer. This is a great book to help keep the focus of the season on Christ.
In case you're wondering, Advent means "coming" and an Advent Wreath is a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas day when we celebrate Jesus' coming.

I found this very old sterling silver candelabra in my grandmother's things that held five candles with the fifth candle being elevated in the middle. I add a little greenery around the base and its perfect for the Advent wreath. Makes me wonder if that was what the candelabra was originally for.

One each Sunday before Christmas Day, a candle is lit. The first candle is the Prophecy Candle--representing hope; the second is The Bethlehem Candle-representing faith; the third is the Angel's Candle-representing peace and the fourth candle is the Shepherd's Candle-representing joy. Then on Christmas morning we light the fifth candle which is Christ's Candle-representing love. In the 25 Days of Christmas book there are scriptures to read that correspond with the candles themes and devotionals to read aloud.

I've really enjoyed bringing this tradition to my family. Do you observe Advent? Are there other traditions you do observe that help to bring the focus of the season on Christ?

I wish all a very stressfree time as we approach Christmas.

12 comments:

  1. Terri, we've always observed it at our churches. I love the tradition! Very meaningful. Plus, we've also done it at home some years when the kids made a wreath at Sunday school. :)

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  2. I love the advent candle ceremony, it makes us slow done and remember the reason.

    Sandy
    rick@recn.ca

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  3. Thanks for sharing about your Advent wreath, Terri. My churches (past and present one) have always observed Advent, and as Missy said, it's very meaningful. ~ Something I do that's very special to me is read the Christmas story from Luke to my children every Christmas Eve. I began doing that when my first-born, Amy, was a newborn. She's now 25, and I still read it to Amy and my other two! It is a tradition that I hope will always stay with my children--even when they have their own families someday. ~ Blessings, Patti Jo :)

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  4. The season of Advent is probably my favorite of the church year. Many churches use colored candles to give yet another reminder of the purpose of Christ's coming. Purple candles are used for three of the four pre-Christmas Sundays. I've heard it in reference to the coming of the King, purple being the color for royalty. I have also heard that it is used as a link to the season of Lent, which is the time leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday: Christ's suffering. Sometimes blue is used in place of purple to remind us of creation; the One who created all becomes part of the creation in order to save it!

    A pink candle is used for the third Sunday. I've heard that it is in reference to the Rose of Sharon, a metaphor for Christ. There is also the historical aspect of the parallel between Lent and Advent. Advent used to be a time of fasting, but the week before Christmas, there was hope and the people would feast rather than fast, in expectation of the coming of Emmanuel.

    What a wonderful time for us as Christians, to be waiting in eager expectation for our Lord! Thank you for your post,Terri!

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  5. we have Advent at Church now but like you until about 10 years ago I didn't know much about it either.
    we started last Sunday as there are normally 4 sundays in Advent. We have purple candles and a White one in the middle which is lit Christmas day

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  6. Missy, That's neat that your church observe it. In the small mountain town where I grew up, we attended the community church. This church taught from the Bible but didn't do any sort of ceremonies or traditions. And the church I've been attending since I moved to Oregon does a candlelight service on Christmas eve and a Christmas pageant with the kids.

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  7. Sandy, slowing down is so important this time of year. I hope you have a wonderful December.

    Patti Jo, we've read the passage in Luke as a family also when we don't make it to Christmas Eve service. And I love to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas with Linus quoting the scripture. I think its neat that your 25 year old will still listen when you read to her. It sounds like you must have a wonderful relationship with your kids.

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  8. Sarah, thanks for sharing about the colors of the candles. I had heard that there were specific colors but researched it much. I use four white and the middle one purple for the King.

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  9. Ausjenny,
    oh, my,(blushing) I've totally blown it. I thought it started this coming Sunday. Ugh! I think I've been a bit overwhelmed with deadlines. I looked at the calendar and saw four Sundays in December. Duh. One's after Christmas. LOL. Sigh. So this Sunday we'll light two candles.

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  10. Terri it wont matter I think it creeped up on us all.
    If it wasn't for lighting one on sunday I wouldn't know either.

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  11. Well since out theme this month is Way and Frays of Christmas, I guess missing the first Sunday of Advent counts as a Fray. :-)

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  12. I'm very late to this party but couldn't resist a post while I had a minute. I had never heard of advent until a year or so ago either. None of the fundamental churches I have ever attended observes it but I am thinking of starting our own family tradition this year--perhaps not the advent ceremony per se, but something similar for our new daughter who has no Christian background. Terri, your post inspired me!

    Last year for the first time ever I attended a Christmas Eve candle service and it truly set the tone for Christmas Day.

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