For as long as I can remember my family has celebrated the season of Advent together. On December 1st my mom would hang the handmade felt Christmas tree and we’d tuck the sequins and bead-adorned ornaments into each of the twenty four pockets below the tree. Each day my brother and I would take turns removing one of the detailed ornaments and placing it on the tree. On Sunday evenings we had family supper at the dining room table, a candle-laden wreath in the center. After the meal we’d read from an Advent devotional book, and light a candle. It was always a special time both for us as a family and for me individually.
The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ. The season of Advent is our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas, and the coming of Christ in our own lives, through grace. It is a season of expectation, preparation and celebration.
Many people celebrate Advent in different ways. Some celebrate all 24 days before Christmas, usually beginning on the first Sunday of the month. When I was a child we sometimes had chocolate Advent calenders that we could open and enjoy on each day of December. Others only mark this season on the four Sunday’s before Christmas, often by lighting a candle on their advent wreath.
The Advent wreath is a custom which originated among German Lutherans. It consists of four candles (three purple and one pink or blue) arranged in a circle with evergreen boughs, and often a fifth, white candle in the center. The Advent wreath corresponds to the four Sundays of Advent. The purple candles represent repentance, the pink candle reminds us of the hope coming, and the white candle, when used, represents Christ. The light of the candles signifies the light of Christ, who comes into the world at Christmas.
For me, Advent is all about taking a moment each day in December to focus my heart and mind on Jesus. I know this is something I should be doing every day (and I try) but it’s even more important for me during this season because its so easy to get caught up in the busyness – the shopping and baking and decorating – and forget about about my Savior.
Now that I have my own little family, the idea of beginning our own Christmas traditions excites me, so much so that I’ve been inspired to create a simple and straightforward advent devotional for my family and yours! My hope is that We Will Wait: An Advent Devotinal Guide, will help focus our hearts on Jesus during a time that can become about everything else but Him. I hope together we can carve out a few minutes in our days, light a candle, read the scripture, and reflect on the hope, peace, joy and love of the Christmas season.
Available November 15th, 20130