I have always loved Advent Calendars. My Grandma still sends me a paper one each year. We have several around our home during the month of December and we never wonder how many days are left until Christmas! :0)
This advent calendar has little velcro pictures to put on each day. It was a gift from some friends of ours.
I got this countdown calendar from Avon about 10 years ago!
I got one of my Christmas present early this year. It is a wooden Advent House with a lovely scene on the front of it.
There are 24 wooden doors that open up and reveal little spaces inside. I have filled them with candy, stickers and mini tree ornaments.
As much as I enjoy our Advent Calendars, about 3 years ago I discovered that there is alot more to Advent than opening little windows and eating a piece of chocolate.
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival" and the focus of the 4 weeks before Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.
Here is our Advent Wreath. Have you seen one and wondered what it was for?
It begins with a simple evergreen wreath. Why use evergreens? God never changes. The evergreens signify God's endless mercy and undying love.
Why is it a circle? God is eternal, He has no beginning or end.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. The light of the candles itself becomes an important symbol of the season. The light reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. It also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect the light of God's grace to others (Isa 42:6).
Why are purple and pink candles used? Purple symbolizes that it is a time to prepare. Pink tells us the joy of Christmas is near.
What is the white candle for? The larger, white candle is placed in the center of the wreath and symbolizes the purity of Jesus.
Here is the Advent schedule for this year.
Week one begins on December 3. A purple candle is lit.
Week two begins on December 10 . A purple candle is lit, as well as the one from last week.
Week three begins on December 17. A rose candle is lit, along with the other two purple candles.
Week four begins on December 24. It will only last 1 day this year. The last purple candle is lit. Also the center white candle is lit since it is Christmas Eve, although some families wait until Christmas day.
As the light grows brighter, we are reminded that the Light of the World will soon arrive in glory. "I am the light of the world." John 8:12
During the week, the candles are lit at the evening meal or whenever the family gathers together. This is also a nice time for a family devotion. There are lots of Advent devotional books available and Lindsey over at Advent for Evangelicals is sharing wonderful weekly themed devotions.
We will be reading Tabitha's Travels-A Famly Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide. Each day we will be joining Tabitha on her travels to the stable at Bethlehem.
I hope this gives you some ways in which you and your family can celebrate the season of Advent. It is a wonderful tradition to help us not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas!