We’ve spent the last 30 days dissecting some of the things we do to welcome Christmas. Many of our traditions aren’t very Christ-like. I’ve come to accept a lot of it as cultural, seasonal and related to our surroundings. But there’s one thing I’m kind of hoping we can all agree on. Advent.
Wikipedia says this:
Advent, anglicized from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming“, is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences onAdvent Sunday, called Levavi. The Eastern churches’ equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.
The progression of the season may be marked with an Advent calendar, a practice introduced by German Lutherans. At least in the Roman Catholic,Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, the Sunday fromNovember 27 to December 3 inclusive.
Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ’s return from Heaven where he now sits at the Right Hand of God.
Advent is , at its very core, the most spiritual of all our Christmas celebrations. I did not grow up in a particularly liturgical church but for December, there were always the Advent candles lit and a devotional to prepare our hearts. My mom had a little Angel Advent candle display and it was extremely peaceful and comforting to watch the angels with their trumpets spinning around * announcing the birth of Christ*.
Sadly, for many, Advent is a chocolate calendar. We’ve all bought them. I am guilty. What a horrible way to downplay something so special. If I could redeem any one thing this Christmas, it would be to redeem Advent. There are so many wonderful resources online. Here are just a few:
- Caleb Voskamp, son of Ann Voskamp of 1000 Gifts fame, has hand carved Advent Wreaths. They are simple and beautiful. You can buy one here. You can also go to this blog post of Ann’s where she gives some ideas for Advent.
2. If you are on Twitter, follow @OccupyAdvent for powerful quotes, songs and images to incorporate into your Advent tradition. I really loved this last year. Some very thought provoking and beautiful comments are shared.
3.For families with little ones truthintinsel.com has some great ideas, an e-book and printable ornaments to lead you through the season.
I’ve also heard really good things about Advent Conspiracy too. It’s on my list as well!
5. And finally, I just LOVE the Nativity movie. I find it to be so well done, culturally and historically accurate and with just enough creative license to make for a great re-telling of a beautiful story. It is totally worth watching each and every year.
If you buy chocolate countdown calendars for your kids…..they are just that. Countdown Calendars.
Advent is so much more. So much deeper.
I, for one, am going to stay away from these: