What is Advent?
The Christian season of Christmas actually begins on Christmas Eve and lasts for twelve days, ending on January 6, that’s actually where the song, “The 12 Days of Christmas” came from. Advent is the time leading up to Christmas and traditionally is a season of preparation for Christmas. Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we celebrate Jesus’ first coming at Christmas as our Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming as Judge of the “quick and the dead.” Thus we pass this time in repentance for our sin and joy for our salvation. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In Advent, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come, as we prepare Him room in our hearts, our families, our churches, and our community.
How can I “Prepare Him Room?”
There are thousands of ways that Christians have found to observe Advent and keep Christ central to Christmas. What follows are several resources to help you find creative ways to connect Jesus to your heart, your family, your church, and your community.
The Advent wreath first appeared in Germany in 1839. A Lutheran minister working at a mission for children created a wreath out of the wheel of a cart. He placed twenty small red candles and four large white candles inside the ring. The red candles were lit on weekdays and the four white candles were lit on Sundays.
Eventually, the Advent wreath was created out of evergreens, symbolizing everlasting life in the midst of winter and death as the evergreen is continuously green. The circle reminds us of God’s unending love and the eternal life He makes possible.
The Advent wreath is a symbol of the season, with a candlelit each of the four Sundays leading up to, and on Christmas Day. The light of the flickering candle flames reminds us who Jesus is: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5). Advent candles are often nestled in the evergreen wreath.Laura Richie of Crosswalk.com