The month before Christmas has got to be the longest time of year for kids! Patience is a hard virtue for children to begin with, so having to wait and wait for the big day can be tough. It doesn’t help that Christmas decorations go on sale so early, and that radio stations begin playing Christmas songs right after Halloween. You can help your kids make it through the long days of December by celebrating Advent. Even better, Advent also helps you keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus rather than Santa Claus, presents, and other commercial aspects of Christmas.
Advent is a Latin word that actually means “coming.” In the Church, Advent is a time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus. Advent officially begins four Sundays before Christmas, which means it often begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
So how can you celebrate Advent? One way is to buy or make an Advent wreath to lay on your table. An Advent wreath typically consists of greenery with four beeswax candles, three purple and one pink (watch a video from Father Peter on making an Advent wreath here: https://fb.watch/28ZTtAX6zv/).
Each candle on the Advent Wreath has a specific meaning:
- Candle one (purple) represents hope. It is often called the prophets’ candle.
- Candle two (purple) represents peace. It is often called the angels’ candle.
- Candle three (pink) represents joy. It is often called the shepherds’ candle.
- Candle four (purple) represents love. It is often called the Bethlehem candle.
Many advent wreaths also include a Christ candle in the middle of the wreath.
To celebrate with an Advent wreath, you light a candle on each Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday, you light candle one; the second Sunday you light candles one and two, etc. You can often find readings to go along with the candle lightings on the internet in Christian books.