Most of us are accustomed to waiting.
It’s part of the natural rhythm of life. The season of Advent—that time marking the unique anticipation of Christmas Day—is a very specific sort of waiting. It is often marked with candles and calendars with pop-up windows and treats, special readings and specific scriptures. The things that commemorate Advent find their place alongside the trees and ornaments and brightly-wrapped packages. Advent helps us mark the time as we wait for Christmas Day.
But Advent is more than just four weeks of waiting; it’s actually a season. The liturgical calendar, used by many Christian churches all around the world, divides the year into six specific seasons—and Advent is the first of those seasons. The beginning of the “church year” starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, measuring the very specific block of time before the celebration of the birth of Jesus. And this season not only leads us towards remembering the birth of Jesus, but also to the hope we have for the future.
The symbols of Advent include four candles placed in a circular wreath, traditionally representing hope, faith, joy, and peace. Often, a single candle is placed in the middle of the wreath to be lit on Christmas day.
Especially in this season of social distancing, the season of Advent offers a great opportunity to begin a new family tradition. The ritual of reading a scripture, focusing on a specific word, and lighting a candle can refresh an old tradition to help mark time in a new way.
Resources for Advent
ONLINE STUDY: 4-session Advent Study with J.D. Greear
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