Friday, December 11, 2009

Fingerprint Friday - Waiting for Christmas

During this frantic time of year, I'd like to take a few moments to slow down ... and breathe .... and focus on the true meaning of the season.

In our church, for the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we celebrate Advent ... a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus. We sing beautiful songs, all with the theme of waiting. Here is a contemporary version of a favorite hymn you may be familiar with ... "O Come O Come Emmanuel".

Here are some excerpts from an article I found online. The traditional candle colors are purple and rose, but some people substitute red.

The Advent wreath is a popular Advent custom that originated in Germany. It consists of four candles (three purple and one rose), surrounded by evergreen branches. One purple candle is lit the first week, two the second, two purple and one rose the third, and finally all four in the last week of Advent. The light of the candles signifies the light of Christ, Who will come into the world at Christmas.

The Advent wreath helps us keep our thoughts focused on the coming of Christ at Christmas, so we should integrate it into our daily activities. The easiest way is to make it a part of our evening meal. The family gathers around the wreath and lights the appropriate candles. The father (or other leader) prays the Advent wreath prayer for that week, and the candles are left burning during the meal.

Advent ends, of course, with Christmas Eve, but that's no reason to put the Advent wreath away. Many people add a large white candle to the center of the wreath and light it, along with the other four, starting on Christmas and going all the way through Epiphany. It's a good way to remind ourselves that Christ is the reason for the preparations we made during Advent, and it also helps us remember that Christmas doesn't end on Christmas morning, after all the presents have been opened.

To find out how to join "Fingerprint Friday" and see links to other posts, visit Pampering Beki's blog.


Elizabeth @ TexasEbeth said...

I have an Advent Candle set but haven't used it yet. This reminds me I need to make Christ the center of Christmas and use it every year. I want my son to know why we celebrate & it ain't all about Santa. Thanks for the reminder!

Gloria said...

Advent is a wonderful time for reflection and remember who's special day we are celebrating on Dec. 25. I had an advent candle set from our very first Christmas together (20 years ago!) and the candles have been replaced many times over, but it was still my favorite wreath.
Merry Christmas!

littlebird said...

thank you for that reminder ; )

Wendy said...

I'd never heard of the candles for Advent before, just the Advent calendars as a countdown to Christmas. How interesting!

Kelly said...

A great reminder thanks! Takes me back to when I was little. We used to have an Advent Log. Good memories!

gina said...

What a wonderful tradition! I love your photo- candles are so hard to shoot right, but you captured the glow and peaceful just perfectly!!