Tomorrow, December 1st marks the beginning of Advent. Running from the first of December to Christmas Eve, the Advent marks the birth of Jesus. In fact, the word Advent is actually Latin for coming. Advent is a celebration to help people focus and remember the reason for the Christmas season.
Depending on the day Christmas falls on, Advent can begin on different days. The start of Advent on December 1st only occurs when Christmas falls on a Wednesday. Each Sunday before Christmas has special meaning.
The Candles of Advent
Each Sunday before Advent, a candle is lite. The candles hold special meanings for the holiday season.
- First Sunday: A purple candle, symbolizing hope, is the first candy lite. The first Sunday candle is also known as “The Prophecy Candle” to remember the prophets who predicted the birth of Christ.
- Second Sunday: Another purple candle is lite to symbolize faith. The faith candle or “The Bethlehem Candle” focuses on Mary and Joseph’s trip into Bethlehem.
- Third Sunday: For the third week into Advent, a pink candle is lite. The pink candle or “The Shephard’s Candle” represents joy. The birth of Christ brought great joy.
- Fourth Sunday: For the fourth week, a purple candle is lite. The fourth candle, or “The Angel’s Candle,” represents peace.
Depending on how you celebrate, a fifth candle may be added to Advent. Lighting a white candle on Christmas Day to celebrate Christ’s birth, the candle represents light and purity. The centered white candle is also known as “The Christ Candle.”
In some cultures, the colors of the candles do not matter. The action of remembering Advent is an essential part of the holiday season.
The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath is part of the candle lighting ceremony. The four candles are set on the wreath with the fifth candle (optional) placed in the middle. The wreath consists of evergreen branches woven together in a circular form. The evergreen circle represents eternity.
Advent Calendars are generally part of celebrating Advent. Counting down to Christmas, an Advent calendar has 24 or 25 openings. Advent calendars vary, including traditional Christ laying in the manger scenes to popular products like Harry Potter mini-figures, Lego, perfume, or jewelry samples.
Other Advent calendars are homemade with chocolate, small toys, or other treats behind each little opening. No matter the type of Advent calendar you use, enjoy the Christmas season.
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