Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! It’s a wonderful time of year, and it can also be a hectic time of year. Several years ago our family began observing Advent as a way of slowing things down and focusing on Jesus, the REAL reason for this amazing season.
Here’s a great little video that gives a quick overview of Advent.
As you saw in yesterday’s post, we got our Advent wreath set up and lit the first candle yesterday, the first Sunday of Advent. Our Advent wreath is not very traditional, but I like it a lot. Here’s how I made it.
I used a glass pie plate (some years I use a white dinner plate) and poured some glass stones on it. Since I happened to have a mix of clear, blue, and green stones, that’s what I used. While these aren’t traditional Christmas colors, I like them. For me, the clear stones represent Jesus’s purity, and blue and green seem like regal colors. I added one red stone as a symbol of His sacrifice. You could choose different colors if you’d like.
Sometimes churches use candles of different colors, one for each week of Advent. Some use purple and pink, and others use blue. Usually there is one white candle in the middle of the wreath to represent Christ. I like to burn the candles every evening, so I opted for four tea lights instead of regular candles. That way I can easily replace them and keep burning them. I snugged four little glass tea light holders into the stones and placed a tea light in each of them. I do have one white candle in the middle. It sits in a candle holder that sits a little taller than the tea lights. We’ll light that one on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
Typically you light one candle each Sunday of Advent. (The second week of Advent we’ll light two candles, and so on.) Each week has a different focus. The candles might represent Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. Or Expectation, Joy, Hope, and Purity. Or Prophets, Mary, Joseph, and Shepherds. You get the picture!
The materials for this kind of Advent wreath are easy to find and not expensive at all. Look around your house first. You may have everything you need already!
The Advent wreath acts as a reminder to remember what Christmas is all about. I need visual nudges like that! To take it all a step further, I like to read Advent devotions each day.
This year I’m reading God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer knew a thing or two about waiting. A large part of this book was written when he was in prison in Germany during World War II. I’m looking forward to reading his thoughts on the season. He lists the focuses of each week as being Waiting, Mystery, Redemption, and Incarnation.
Another book I’ll be picking up during Advent is Max Lucado’s Celebrating Christmas with Jesus: An Advent Devotional. This book uses passages from several of the many books he’s written. (God Came Near is my favorite Christmas book ever!)
A great, FREE, online resource for daily readings is d365.
If you have kids, I highly recommend reading Jotham’s Journey with them during Advent!
Does YOUR family observe Advent? What special things do you do to keep the potentially chaotic Christmas season under control? Please share in the comment section below!