Friday, December 01, 2006

Advent~One of my favorite things

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.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

I got this countdown calendar from Avon about 10 years ago!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

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.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

There are 24 wooden doors that open up and reveal little spaces inside. I have filled them with candy, stickers and mini tree ornaments.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

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?

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

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.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

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!


Susie said...

What a beautiful post to remind us once again of the true meaning of this holy season.

JacquiG said...

I had never heard of Advent candles before reading some blogs recently. Sounds much like Hannukah where on the first day you light 1 candle, 2nd day 2 candles and so on until on the 8th day all 8 candles are lit. The light of the miracle gets bright each day.

Enoy your Advent traditions (I love the wooden Advent House!).

Jackie in ON

Patty said...

kelli, what a wonderful post about advent. I have had an advent calendar many many years. Ours are always German made.
What a special time it is each evening looking for the right number to open and discovering what has been hidden. I took out my old calendar today.

Sheila said...

I love the wooden house!! Where did it come from?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Kelli ~
as always great information - I have a wreath all set up and will be doing this :)

God bless,

Heather Anne said...

We loved Jotham's Journey by Mr. Ytreeide last year - it was so exciting and thought provoking! Now I will be looking for Tabitha's Travels - thank you for making me aware of another sure to be awesome book!

Julieann said...

Your Advent calendars are just precious, and your wreath is lovely--and thank you for reminding us what everything means, I so enjoyed ready your post:)


smilnsigh said...

Oh I love the wooden Advent House with the lovely scene on the front of it.

Susan P. said...

Kelli, I just love the wooden Advent house. I was at Cracker Barrel a few weeks ago and they had one just like it! I was sooooo tempted!! Thank you for your sweet reminder about the true meaning of Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post. We are doing an advent chain this year...I really want an advent calendar. And, I never knew about the wreath. We plan on doing a Jesse Tree next year (maybe this year if I can get it together). Well, I've been reading you for a few weeks and I love your blog. Thanks!

Kelli said...

Hi Sheila, we go the house at Costo, which is similiar to Sam's Club (big Warehouse type of store.)

Amy said...

I grew up celebrating Advent each December and have loved passing the tradition down to my children. We always start December 1st. because of a special calendar we use that gradually tells the story of Jesus' birth. All day yesterday the kids were *so* excited and just couldn't wait until after dinner!

I love your decorations, but especially the little house. Adorable!!

Carole Burant said...

When the boys were growing up we always had an advent's a beautiful tradition. When one of the candles would get lit, we would then have a little snack of Christmas cookies:-) Love all your advent calendars, especially your new wooden one, it's gorgeous!!

mrsnesbitt said...

I too love Advent preparations. I will take some photographs later as i go to our village church here in UK. Would be interesting to compare.

Have a good day!


Sue Seibert said...

Wonderful Advent calendars and celebration. This is the holy season of expectation. It was my favorite, as well.

BTW, I'm in Mineral Wells, Texas, where are you guys?

TJ said...

I am here from Sue's, thanks so much for the info on the advent wreath and candles...I learn so much from blogging!!

RennyBA said...

Here from Sue and I'm so glad because this was a lovely Advent post!
It seams like we share a lot about love and care and participation in the Advent time. Coming from Norway it's amazing to see how much we have in common. The calender, the wreath and everything.

To me Advent and Christmas season is the best time of the year and covering so many lovely memories. Come over and take a look at my two post from the first Sunday in Advent if you like:-)

Unknown said...

FYI I found some wonderful advent calendars and advent houses that at this little tea site. They are not nearly as pricy as some I've seen and they are solid wood.

Christi said...

I just got one of Cracker Barrel's wooden advent houses similar to the one you pictured. I love it so much. It brought the little girl out in me like a gift hasn't done since I was young. Thanks for this post, it was pleasant reading indeed!