Christmas is finally here and I am soooo excited! While I do enjoy Thanksgiving, it does prolong the preparations for Christmas that I wait for allllll year long. If it were my choice, I would live in a Christmas wonderland, enjoying the smells, the snow (since I have never had a proper snowy Christmas) and endless albums of Christmas music.
This is the first Christmas that Jordan and I will spend together and since we are far from our own families, we thought we would begin our own traditions. We don’t want Christmas in our house to be just about presents, Santa, and Christmas trees, we want this to be a time of year where our children grow in the knowledge of their Savior, and are reminded of His perfect arrival to the earth and His soon to be coming again. We also want this to be a fun time for our family to reflect on the birth of Christ and what Christmas is all about.
While visiting one of my best friends a few weeks before Christmas a few years back, I was able to participate with her family in an Advent Sunday. Now, I went to a Methodist church for a short time and saw the Advent wreath but had NO idea what the candles were for, and why the heck we were lighting those things every Sunday. It wasn’t until this weekend at my friend’s house that I came to understand the advent a little better (and I still have much to learn).
Jordan and I decided this would be a fun little tradition to start, and would help up focus on Christ during this crazy month. So we did a little research, and so far, this is what we found.
Advent originates from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming.” It is a tradition of the Western Church as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ on Christmas day. The beginning of the advent season traditionally starts the 4th Sunday before Christmas (not sure why 4 Sundays) and is marked by lighting a candle each following Sunday until Christmas. The lighting of the candles is often followed by readings and teachings that serve as reminder of both His first coming over 2000 years ago and His second coming still to come.
We are still learning for ourselves about the traditions of the advent, and I am sure that as the years go by we will make traditions of our own. I don’t yet have a traditional Advent wreath, so instead I set out 4 burgundy candles to light every week and one white candle to light Christmas day. The colors are different than the traditional blue and purple, but it will serve as a great reminder of His blood that makes us white as snow (and conveniently, they were the only colors left over from the wedding!). Perhaps as the season moves on I will find some cheep garland and other Christmas accessories to decorate with, but for now it serves its purpose
Noel Piper also has a wonderful book on traditions. I have not read it, but I hear that it offers some really creative ways to remember Christ through each holiday and in family traditions.
Jordan found 3 weeks worth of Advent readings. The fist week goes through portions of Isaiah 1-4, 1 Thess. 1-4 and Luke 20. The verse we read last night seemed scattered so we are excited to see how scripture develops the themes of the Advent.
One of the readings from last night was Matthew 25:1-13:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. “
Great reminder of the promises we have in Christ. Hope this season leaves you yearning for the kingdom even more.
If anyone celebrates the Advent and has any other ideas please pass them our way. We are learning and want to learn more.
Merry Christmas Season!