The weeks before Christmas can seem to last so long for children! I want to encourage those of you who are parents or grandparents to celebrate Advent with your kids in the month of December. It can help keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus rather than Santa Claus, presents, and commercialism. Advent is a Latin word that means “coming.” In the Christian church, Advent is time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus.
How can you celebrate Advent? One way is to buy or make an Advent wreath. It typically consists of greenery with four candles, three purple and one pink. Each candle on the Advent wreath has a specific meaning:
Candle one (purple) represents hope. It is often called the prophets’ candle.
Candle two (purple) represents peace. It is often called the angels’ candle.
Candle three (pink) represents joy. It is often called the shepherds’ candle.
Candle four (purple) represents love. It is often called the Bethlehem candle.
Many advent wreaths also include a (white) Christ candle in the middle of the wreath.
To celebrate with an Advent wreath, you light a candle on each Sunday of Advent (if you forget to do it on a Sunday, you can do it on another day—we did this with our kids!). The first Sunday, you light candle one; the second Sunday you light candles one and two, etc. You can find readings to go along with the candle lightings on the internet or at bookstores.
After lighting the candles and doing the readings, sing Christmas songs (we did this with recordings as I am musically challenged!) You may want to make cookies and take them to people who serve your community, like life-saving crews or fire-fighters. You might visit in homes for the elderly, sing Christmas carols, and leave pictures drawn by your children with them.
One more suggestion. Before any presents are opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible.
Hope this holy season is meaningful to you!