Looking Toward Advent '15 & Our Intro to the Advent Wreath

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

-Matthew 1:23

The meaning of Christmas, is Jesus. Advent means arrival and coming. We are celebrating the arrival of Jesus. The Arrival of Emmanuel, God with us. This is a time to really begin to grasp the enormity and beauty of Christ’s coming through his birth. I have written about Advent here before, so to quote an older Advent study that I had done with SRT:

“Advent is not about waiting for a baby to be born. Advent is not about waiting for a religion to be established. Advent is not about gifts or liturgy or days on the Church calendar.

It is a weary, hurting world tracing the promises of God through time.

It is the groaning of mankind under the weight of sin so heavy it cannot lift its head. From the first debt of sin to a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of The Lord!”, Advent traces kings and kingdoms and goats and alters in search of an everlasting hope – Emmanuel, God with us.

This is Advent: the coming of hope to the hopeless, the arrival of peace to war-torn exiles, the long-awaited exhale of freedom for generation after generation gasping for air.

Advent is the elaborate yet stunningly simple plan of God to descend to His children, to become like them in the most unexpected, unglamorous, fully human way.

This is the beginning of a great ransom story.”

Amen!!

Each year I do this through a number of ways. It sounds like more than it is. We have our tree of advent that is in conjunction with the studies we do-Just a quick read that goes over a little lesson, often illustrating a name of God. We have our little ornaments that these names written on them for Caleb to put on our tree of Advent. Another thing you can do that I love and might just do as well as an activity is a paper chain with all the names of Christ, which also works as a count down.

We have our Advent wall with our calendar counting down in the form of envelopes. These hold daily scriptures and activities, so as we read our lesson for that day, we review the card as well.

Lastly, we always read The Jesus Storybook Bible for advent. It’s an incredible book and I highly recommend it.

This year, we are adding the Advent Wreath. I have always been intrigued, and a wonderful friend gave me hers a while ago. 

So, because this is our first time utilizing the wreath, I of course had to do some research and put down a little lesson plan of sorts to help guide me as I do it with Caleb. It’s easy, I just have no background in this and I like having quick references with versus and meaning for each candle. The below was taken from Happy Home Fairy and Feels Like Home.

Special thanks to Jill, for her Advent Wreath given to us! 

Advent wreaths have four candles, each symbolizing an important aspect of Christ’s birth.  There is also a fifth candle that goes right in the middle of the wreath that celebrates His birth.

First Candle (HOPE)– The Prophesy Candle (Candle of Hope – the hope and expectation of the coming Jesus!).  Read Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; and Luke 1:30-35.

Second Candle (LOVE)– The Bethlehem Candle– The place where Love was born!).  Read Micah 5:2; and Luke 2:1-7.

Candle Three (JOY)-This is the one that’s usually pink, but it’s okay for it to be purple, too. All mine are white.) The Shepherd’s Candle -Candle of Joy – the Shepherds were filled with joy about the Good News!).  Read Ezekiel 34:23Luke 2:15-20John 10:11.

Candle Four (PEACE)– The Angel’s Candle-Candle of Peace – the angels brought a message of peace!).  Read Isaiah 52:7Luke 2:8-144:18-19.

Candle Five on Christmas Eve-Christ’s Candle – The Savior (this is the white pillar in the center of the wreath). Read Isaiah 9:2Luke 2:30-32.

Candles are lit each Sunday of Advent, beginning with the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and then each consecutive Sunday leading up to Christmas Eve when the fifth and final candle is lit. You light the first on the first day, and then both the first and second candles on the second week, and so on and so forth. I will be lighting our first candle when we begin Advent and then proceed with doing it each Sunday until Christmas Eve.

I know everyone does this season differently, and I would love to hear what you might do to be intentional about Advent, or even just aspects of the Christmas season!

Enjoy the start of a new Advent season as we look towards the coming of Christ’s birth.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

-Isaiah 9:6