Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Preparing for Advent

Advent Wreath Glow
Photo by Carol Weaver.
Please ask permission before copying

Advent starts on December 1 this year. So, I wanted to give you a "heads-up" for celebrating. Often, Advent candles are on sale over the Thanksgiving Holiday. 

We have done this celebration since the first year of our marriage. It is our favorite family time over the holidays. My kids still love to do it, and they are both adults.

Here is a definition of Advent from Wikipedia.com:
Advent (from the Latin word adventus, which means "arrival" or "coming") is the first season of the liturgical year. It begins four Sundays before Christmas, the Sunday falling on or nearest to 30 November, and ends on Christmas Eve. Traditionally observed as a "fast", it focuses on preparation for the coming of Christ, not only the coming of the Christ-child at Christmas, but also, in the first weeks, on the eschatological final coming of Christ, making Advent "a period for devout and joyful expectation".[8] This season is often marked by the Advent Wreath, a garland of evergreens with four candles. Although the main symbolism of the advent wreath is simply marking the progression of time, many churches attach themes to each candle, most often 'hope', 'faith', 'joy', and 'love'. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent)
We do the hope, faith, joy, and love candles from Zimmerman's book (see below), but we add additional meanings that really go together nicely with this. Traditionally, Advent wreaths have three purple candles and a pink one (with a white Christ candle in the middle), and you can often find them bundled together for the Christmas season. I do a different color scheme:

1st: The GOLD prophets candle
2nd: The WHITE angels candle
3rd: The GREEN shepherds candle 
4th: The PURPLE kings candle
The RED Christ Candle

We do the Jesse Tree readings daily and read Advent Scripture on Sundays when we light the candles. I have daily Advent Scriptures that I will include over the next four posts. (I am so excited. These readings have been missing for years, but I just found them - they had fallen between my file cabinet and a wall!) 

Here is a wonderful electronic version of a weekly Advent Ceremony. The only difference is that he uses a blue Kings candle instead of a purple one. (sometimes purple ones are hard to find). He even has an abbreviated ceremony doing all four weeks in one sitting. This would be great if you were introducing a guest to what you do during your Advent ceremony! I am so impressed with it. Here is the link:


We use the ceremony written by Martha Zimmerman in her excellent book, Celebrating the Christian Year. She suggests the traditional colors, but we make Advent our own and you can too!

 Amazon has many copies for as little as .01 a piece. This book is full of background, Scriptures, equipment necessary, and recipes for celebrations throughout the whole year! I have done most of them with my kids since they were really small. I do not get legalistic about doing everything every year though. 

Another thing that is very fun for younger kids is to do the excellent Advent Reading books by Arnold Ytreeide.  They are excellent, and at one time, between printings, they were selling for over $100, but I would not dream of parting with mine, ever! My girlfriend in Colorado could not get the next in the series so I sent it to her with a solemn promise that she would send it back! (Of course, she did!)

I guarantee that your family will be on the edge of their seat every night begging for more!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope to see you on December 1st for the daily Messiah Meditations!

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