For those who follow the Christian tradition, we are now in the Advent season, the time of waiting expectantly, and preparing for the Birth of Jesus. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus “coming; arrival”. In Western Christianity it is the beginning of the liturgical year.
Several Advent practices include the Advent calendar, lighting an Advent wreath, saying a daily Advent devotional prayer, and setting up a Christmas tree. Some churches hold special musical events that include cantatas, singing Handel’s oratorio Messiah and/or Christmas carols.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas (between November 27 and December 3) and ends on Christmas Eve.
An Advent calendar is used to count the days until the Birth of Christ. The traditional Advent calendar has doors (drawers). A door is opened each day throughout the season. Behind the door, one may find a poem, a Bible verse, an image, a small segment of the Nativity story, or a tiny gift.
The Advent wreath consists of five candles which represent a Christian’s anticipation and preparation for the Birth of Christ. The first candle, the prophecy candle is purple and is called the candle of hope; the second candle, the Bethlehem candle is also purple and is named the candle of peace; the third candle, the shepherd candle is pink and is the candle of joy; and the fourth candle, the angle candle is purple: it is the candle of love. The fifth and final candle is white: it symbolizes purity, light, restoration and holiness. The white candle is placed in the center of the Advent wreath.
What holiday traditions do you and your family follow?