PREPARING FOR ADVENT
The Advent season officially begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve or Day. Various traditions celebrate the season through an array of customs. Perhaps the most well known is the use of an Advent calendar to mark the month of December. Advent calendars typically include 24 "windows" that are opened (one per day) to reveal a poem, Scripture, story, picture or small gift.
Another popular tradition inolves the use of an Advent candle or candles. The symbol is borrowed from the emphasis throughout Scripture of Jesus Christ being the Light of the World. Matthew 4:16; John 1:4-9; John 1:4-9, 8:12). Each week leading up to Christmas an additional candle is lit. The traditional color of the Advent Candles are purple for royalty or blue symbolizing hope.
Each Sunday leading up to Christmas Day centers around words of hope, peace, joy and love. There are many types of Advent calendars and Advent candles that can be purchased or be creative and make your own. All you need are five candles, 3 purple or blue, 1 pink and 1 white. Weeks 1 and 2 light a purple/blue candle each week. Week 3 light the pink candle. Week 4 light the remaining purple/blue candle. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day light the white candle - the Christ candle.
There is nothing magical in following this tradition - it is a man-made way to remind us daily of the importance and significance of Advent - our preparing our hearts to welcome the Christ Child into the world. Light a candle, read a daily devotional and pray each day, beginning December 1st, until Christmas Day. Of this we can be certain: God is always with us; it is us who forget.