Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. The 4 Sundays before Christmas is when we celebrate advent – the anticipation of Jesus’ coming or birthday. On Christ eve, we light the final candle which is the Christ candle – anticipating His 2nd coming when He will restore all things to new. Do you celebrate advent?
I didn’t start celebrating until I was an adult. If you have never participated in advent before, start this year. Resources abound to help you. Our church gave us a booklet with scripture to read, questions to ask, and even a prayer to recite. There are advent studies online that can guide you. My favorite advent study is from Dynamic Catholic – Best Advent Ever. Matthew Kelly is an insightful teacher. Max Lucado is doing a daily text message for free. If none of these appeal to you, let me know. I have other resources I can share.
Why celebrate advent? It helps you focus on Christ during Christmas. It softens your heart and refocuses your mind. If you are dealing with the stress of the season (or life in general), it’s a place to rest and refresh. It’s a way for you to teach your kid(s) (if you have some in your home), about the true meaning of Christmas. The next generation needs to seep themselves in Christian tradition so it sticks long into their adulthood. Think of your Christmas traditions from childhood you are still observing today in your own home. Let’s add another spiritual component to our holiday traditions.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6 NASB
The first candle of Advent is focused on Hope. Each week there is a different focus (love, joy, peace). Don’t we need hope these days? Things are weird in our world right now. Just plain weird. Hope lets us stay above it all. Hope helps us focus on God’s faithfulness in the past and lean on that today. Hope allows us to be OK when our circumstances aren’t so good. Hope gives us confidence that God is at work, even if we don’t see it. Hope isn’t false. It isn’t being happy when we are sad. It’s being sad but deep inside knowing it’ll be OK. It’s being happy and deep inside knowing God is working in me.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1 NIV
I encourage you to start advent today. If you don’t have the supplies, just use any candle you have. Pumpkin spice, vanilla cinnamon, mango, whatever. Just do it. Start today if you missed yesterday – the first Sunday of advent. Friends, add this tradition to your Christmas season. You will be glad you did. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section, myself, or other readers will be happy to get you going on this journey. Also, if you don’t know Jesus personally, advent is a great way to discover who He is. Dive in!
Dream Big! Pray Big!