This introduction repeats much of what I said yesterday, but this is typed from something that was in my church bulletin back in the 1980's. This is where I got the idea to use the non-traditional colors for the candles! Sorry to say I do not know who wrote it!
PREPARING YOUR HEART FOR CHRISTMAS
Over the years Christians have felt the need to prepare themselves for Christmas. This was never more true than today when the secular influence and interpretation of Christmas all but buries the truth.
The beautiful custom of Advent has helped many to keep their focus on Christ. The world "Advent" means "coming" and refers to the coming of Jesus. The season of Advent is a four-week preparation period for Christmas.
(Carol's Note: Make sure you start four Sundays before Christmas. It is a different date every year.)
Advent also traditionally includes an Advent wreath with four candles around it. The progressive lighting of the candles represents the dispelling of darkness by the coming of our Lord. This week you might prepare a simple wreath of evergreens and place around it four candles as follows: gold symbolizing prophets, white for angels, green for shepherds, and purple for wisemen. Place a larger red candle in the center of the wreath to represent Christ. Many times candles of all one color are used as an alternative.
Choose a place to have your Advent worship service and put the wreath there in preparation. This provides a place for your family to come together each day to read the Scriptures and pray. You might discuss before hand what time of the day would be best. Many families find that the time right after dinner is the most workable.
"Now while the people were in a state of expectation . . . " Luke 3:15
FIRST SUNDAY ADVENT READINGS
Gather the family together around the Advent wreath with candles and ask the youngest child to light the gold prophets candle. Read the Scripture passage for the day, sing carols, and give thanks to God.
This short service is repeated each evening during the week by the light of only one candle.
2 Peter 1:19-21; Isaiah 7:13-14; Matthew 1:18-23
Hebrews 1:1-3; Isaiah 9:1-7; Matthew 4:13-16
Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-11; Acts 26:22-29
Isaiah 53; Matthew 27:12-14; 27:38; 27:57-60
Zechariah 9:9; 11:12-13; 12:10;
Matthew 21:1-11; 26:15; 27:3-10; John 19:37
Isaiah 42:1-7; Matthew 12:17-21; Luke 2:32
Psalm 22:1-18; Matthew 27:35-46
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus