The celebration of Advent, “the coming of Christ,” is a tradition begun in my family by my mother in 1966 and now, 41 years later, it is still going strong. Not only do I celebrate Advent with my family, but also all of my siblings and their families celebrate this tradition. A total of 29 family members in this current generation. It is with great joy each year that I purchase the candles and prepare the wreath for Advent.
If you are interested in bringing a more focused meaning to December and directing your family’s thoughts toward the true meaning of Christ’s coming, then consider adding the celebration of Advent.
Each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day and on Christmas Eve my family sets aside fifteen minutes before our meal or prior to the activities of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to read the Bible, sing, and pray.
Our Advent is celebrated around an evergreen wreath with five candles. We light the candle for the appropriate Sunday, read a scripture passage, sing a Christmas carol, and pray. Our youngest child usually is given the privilege of lighting the first candle of Advent.
My family uses five colors of candles, however, many families use different colors. The white, pink, green, and purple candles form a circle in the wreath and the red candle is in the center of the candles. In our tradition, each of the candle color is symbolic.
White = Purity The Prophecy candle
Pink = Joy The Bethlehem candle
Green=Life The Shepherd’s candle
Purple= Royalty The Wise Men’s candle
Red = Christ The Christ Child’s candle
Beginning with the first Sunday in Advent one candle is lit each Sunday until the last Sunday of Advent when all four candles are lit. On the first Sunday only the white candles burns, on the second Sunday the white and pink candles burn…and likewise for the third and fourth Sundays. One Christmas Eve the fifth candle, the Christ Child’s candle is lit.
December 2, 2007 – The first Sunday of Advent
“This is the Prophecy Candle which begins the time of waiting. Prophets were men of the Bible who looked far ahead to the day when God would send His Messiah to the world.”
Read: Isaiah 9:2,6,7
Sing: “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” or another favorite carol.
December 9, 2007 – The second Sunday of Advent
“This is the Bethlehem candle. This candle represents the preparations made to receive the Christ Child.”
Read: Luke 2:1-7
Sing: “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
December 16, 2007 – The third Sunday of Advent
“This is the Shepherd’s candle. It suggests the welcoming of Jesus by all people, even simple shepherds in the fields.”
Read: Luke 2:8-20
Sing: “While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night”
December 23, 2007 – The fourth Sunday of Advent
“This is the candle of the three Wise Men. It suggests that Christ came to the people of all nations because the Wise Men were from different countries.”
Read: Matthew 2:1-2
Sing: “We Three Kings”
December 24, 2007 – Christmas Eve
Light all candles, including center candle.
“This is the first Christ Child candle. As we share the joy of Christmas it reminds us of Jesus, who is the reason why we celebrate this Advent season.”
Sing: “Away in the Manager”
December 25, 2007 – Christmas Day
Light all candles.
Read: Isaiah 9: 2,6,7 Luke 2:1-20 Matthew 2:1-2
Sing: “Joy to the World”
Quotes and scripture suggestions taken from the November 13, 1966 “Church Story Paper for Boys and Girls” Vol. 3. Copyright 1966 by Graded Press.