I’ve never celebrated Advent. At least not intentionally. My family was raised mostly at a Pentecostal church in Puerto Rico. The word Advent was nowhere near my panorama. We obviously celebrated Christmas season while hearing about the nativity, participating in Christmas plays, and singing Christmas songs but nothing that we did continuously during the Christmas season. I think that, as Christianize as we may be, most of us associate Christmas more with gifts, parties and family time.
I have started teaching my son about our different celebrations. He already knows who Santa Clause is and every time he sees Christmas decoration or anything similar, he goes: “Ho Ho Ho”. It’s really cute. I’ve been teaching him about God also. As a mom, my primary goal is for my son to grow in a Christ centered home, loving Jesus and that he may have his own relationship with God.
At this stage, I started thinking about Christmas and ways to show him the occasion and the other day I remembered the word Advent. I had seen it before, during Christmas time, mostly on the Bible app. I had an idea of what it could possibly mean in relation to Christmas. And so, my curiosity launched an interesting google research to discover its meaning. I was surprised to learn that it had to do with the celebration of Christ’s second coming and not only of Christmas. This was really interesting to me since I think that taking faith in his return, could really keep us busy in our faith when we take effort in being ready for his return.
As I read more about Advent I could see in my mind a wonderful spiritual journey with the help of this season. I could also picture a wonderful opportunity to teach my son about the reason for Christmas, not just on one day, but during a whole season; every day with a family tradition.
I realized also that celebrating Advent is a great way to overcome the emphasis on gifts, food, toys or Santa Clause and rather placing the priority of the season in celebrating a Prince that was born to us and will return—the whole purpose of Advent. Christmas is exciting for all of us, especially for kids to discover what gift they will get. But they can have something greater in addition to excitement—meaningfulness. We need to give that to our children every day. We also as adults can have our own little spiritual retreat at home by taking some time to meditate and celebrate upon our Lord as we draw closer to Him. Advent is a great time to do that.
So what exactly is Advent? The word Advent means “coming”. The Advent Season typically starts 4 Sundays before Christmas Day and ends before Christmas. You can think about Advent as a countdown to Christmas where you take activity in observance of its meaning. While believers wait joyfully in expectation for Christmas Day, during Advent we are reminded to also wait expectantly for his second coming and to be prepared for it. Each week of Advent has its own theme. The first Advent Sunday’s theme is “Hope” as it remembers the hope that the Jewish people had in the coming of the Messiah and how we hope for his return. The second week concentrates in preparedness or being ready for his coming. The third Advent Sunday—my favorite— is also called Gaudete Sunday for its meaning which is “Joy”; in joyful celebration of his coming. And the final week’s theme is “Peace and Love” in celebration of what God brings with his son.
What can we do to celebrate Advent? Commit yourself to God on each Advent day or Advent Sunday with a special devotional, passage reading or prayer related to one of the Advent themes in celebration of Jesus coming into this wold and delight yourself in it. Traditionally some people have an Advent wreath on their homes. The Advent wreath has 4 candles that are lighted one by one each Sunday. The third candle has a pink color since its the one for Gaudete Sunday, its the candle that lets us know we are really close to Christmas. The fourth candle is usually at or closest to Christmas eve and some people light a white candle on the center of the wreath on Christmas day to represent Jesus in the center. I see a great opportunity here to teach kids about Jesus and Christmas, the excitement of lighting up the candles each Sunday will attune them with the message of Advent.
My Advent devotional. This year, during Advent season, I will be posting a devotional on each advent Sunday in relation to it’s theme along with relevant application to our lives today. When you sign up, you will receive each devotional directly to your email so you can quickly access it and have your own time with God while reading it. In addition, when you sign up, you will receive printable ornaments for your Christmas tree. Each Advent day you can color one ornament with your kids and read the Bible passage on the back that narrates the nativity day by day. Kids will enjoy the easy Christmas craft as they learn about the Christmas story and Jesus. Each day is a progressive count towards Christmas that adds all the anticipation and excitement that usually comes with it. So, what do you think? Isn’t Advent a great time to celebrate and delight in the Lord at our homes?
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