Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advent at Home

Not everyone knows what Advent is.  I have been a Christian since the day I asked Jesus to come into my heart at the age of 7 and did not know about this word "Advent" and traditions tied to it until I was an adult.  I love traditions that give purpose to Holidays.  Advent in Latin means “The Coming”.  In short, Advent is the time period leading up to Christmas.  Counting down the days!  My kids use an advent calender where we velcro a new character/animal/object each day to a scene that slowly unveils the nativity.  I love it!  Another tradition is the Advent wreath.  When I started to attend a church that used this tradition to prepare our hearts for Christmas I fell in love.  A visual with meaning.  Not all churches use this tradition but many still do.  The advent wreath has 5 candles that are lit one by one in church services all over the world on the 4 Sundays that lead up to Christmas.  The last Candle is lit in a Christmas eve service.  So why light candles? The lighting of these candles help remind us of the promise that a Light would come to the World.  This promise is all over the Old Testament of The Bible. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9.2)  With each Sunday the candles bring us closer to the time when we recall Jesus' birth and the fulfillment of this promise.  But that is not the only coming we are to look forward to.  The candle lighting reminds us to look forward to Jesus' Second Coming as well.  We seek to be wise and have our lamps ready for the Bridegroom who is coming again.  He said it would happen!  Remember Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25.1-13, the Parable of the Ten Virgins?  As Jesus said: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (25:13).  
You can worship in this way whether you go to a church that follows this tradition or not;  recalling His first coming and looking forward to His Second Coming.  You can do it right there in your own home.  Light candles each week leading up to Christmas or do it all at once.  That's what we are doing this year, lighting them all at once.  On Christmas day my brother and sisters' families are coming over.  I LOVE hosting because this means I am in charge of how the Christmas story is presented.  Along with a cute play that the kids will put on, we are going to light the Advent Candles! 
The Prophecy Candle (Dawn)
The Prophecy Candle signifies Hope and tells us of the Prophets who expected and predicted the coming of the Messiah who would bring peace, love and salvation to the world. It also reminds us that he will come again in glory.   Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of light."  
Jesus, Name above All Names
The Bethlehem Candle (Viramonte Family)
The Bethlehem candle represents Peace and reminds us that Christ was born as a human baby at a precise time and place in history. He is also eternal God. 
Jesus said, I am the Light of the World.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
Silent Night

The Shepherd's Candle (Jordan Family)
The Shepherds Candle represents Joy and celebration.  Just as the shepherds shared the joy of Christ's birth, we can share with others the joy of His presence in our lives.  Jesus said, I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
Go Tell It on the Mountain

The Angels Candle (Fozounmayeh Family)
The Angels Candle represents Love.  The angels were messengers proclaiming Christ's birth to the shepherds; we are God's messengers proclaiming Christ's Love for our world.  Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

The Christ Candle (Kretz Family)
The Christ Candle declares to us that God sent Christ into our world.  He is Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior.   Now all the candles are lit.  Christ is born! Let us rejoice!
Joy to the World
And there you go... Advent at Home!  Traditions that give Holidays great purpose.

No comments:

Post a Comment