Advent is really a time of preparation and reflection on the reason why we celebrate Christmas! There are four weeks of Advent, and, although there are many ways to celebrate Advent, here is how we do it...
On the first night of Advent, we make our Advent wreath. We have a golden candle holder, with spots for five candles. One Candle (the white one, white stands for purity) goes in the middle. This is the "Jesus" candle. It is a bit taller than the other candles, as Jesus is above all others. The other four candles (purple, the color that stands for royalty) go in the four corners around the white. These candles are the "Prophecy", "Bethlehem", "Angels" , and "Shepherds" candles. We put green garland and white ribbon around the candle holder, in a spiraling circle. Green stands for new life, circles for eternity (there is no beginning and no end to a circle), and of course, white for purity. We put holly berries on (drops of blood that Jesus would eventually shed for our sins), and pine cones (pine cones must die to give life to the next tree- Jesus gave his life so we could have life. We also put poinsettia flowers on the wreath, to stand for the Star of Bethlehem.
Sometime during each week of Advent, we try for Monday, we will make a meal of either red chili or white chili, just because chili seems like a nice winter-ish meal. No other reason :). It is just part of how Daddy and Mommy chose to make that teaching time different from regular winter suppers, make a point of how this is a special time (kind of like it is pretty much a must for everybody to eat turkey on Thanksgiving!).
That night, we do a Bible study (using the Bible that Daddy used while growing up, and that was used for family Bible time every night for years. We now have a newer Bible for family Bible time, and this one is getting saved for this time of year, due to the fact that we didn't want this one destroyed by the little hands that wanted to read to themselves during the day) on what that nights candle stands for. We discussed the candle for that night, review the candles we have done so far, and have a time of prayer.
The First candle is : The "Prophecy" (or, anticipation ) candle.
shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."
"For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, A light to be revealed to the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things, which were spoken touching him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary
his mother, Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against, (Yea and a sword shall pierce through thy soul) that the thoughts of many hearts may be opened."
I have loved our family's Advent celebration the past few years (actually, I guess more than a few- four or five, at the least, which is considered several!). I think it has really helped our family really think about what Christmas is about, as a family, in a wonderful way!!!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!