With so much to do to get ready for Christmas, adding more for Advent seems to add insult to injury. But taking holy moments throughout the day to remind us all of why we celebrate the season makes the rest of Christmas planning a little more holy, thoughtful, and sacred.
There are advent devotional materials in the sanctuary, from thoughtful readings, to activities, to spiritual practices. Take copies of any or all the materials; use them for your reflections this season. Grace and Peace to you in this holy time.
PLAN AHEAD: BEFORE ADVENT
Before Advent begins, make an Advent Wreath. The wreath symbolizes the period of waiting for Jesus' coming and can be used as a focal point in your Advent devotions. There are 3 parts to the traditional Advent Wreath:
The circle - symbolizes eternity and the continuing presence of God. Use a wire hoop or other non-flammable material with four candle holders for this base.
The evergreens for everlasting life. Take care when decorating that the evergreen materials are fire resistant; artificial greenery and other decorations are recommended!
The 4 candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Typically the candles are 3 purple (or blue) and one rose or pink candle, but you may use all the same color, even yellow beeswax. The candles represent Hope, Love, Joy (pink or rose candle), Peace, and each correlate with a week of Advent. Light one candle per week, adding the new candle to the prior ones.
Also before Advent begins, select or make an Advent Calendar to mark the time. You can mark time by the weeks of Advent or by the days in December. Your calendar can be anything from ornaments you hang one by one on a wreath or tree, a devotional calendar you set aside time to read and meditate every day.
Advent is a time to look forward to Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus' birth on earth. Advent is a time to reflect on Christ's presence in everyday life and whether or not we live up to the promise of God's kingdom on earth. It is a time of Spiritual reflection, and a chance to deepen our commitment to follow in Christ's footsteps and example. Advent is a time to draw closer to family by sharing activities throughout the season - baking and shopping included! Laughter, joy, tears, prayers of praise and thanksgiving, sadness. Through it all, Advent is a time of faith, hope and love.
Peace be with you, and may you have a meaningful Advent.