This coming Sunday marked the start of Advent. Growing up, living with my grandparents, I have fond memories of this time of year. Every night at dinner (6:30 sharp) my grandma would light the advent candle, which was displayed in the kitchen, and would be the focal point at our dinner table. I loved what it stood for and I loved waiting for the next week, where she would light the next candle. It was something special that I was a part of and wanted to carry on as a tradition in our family as well. To me, celebrating advent is a great reminder of what the season is truly all about.
The season of Advent lasts the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. It is a celebration of the time we are waiting and preparing for the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. The season of advent starts this year on December 3rd and ends on Christmas Eve.
One of the most common Advent traditions involves the use of evergreen wreaths, branches, and trees. On the first Sunday of Advent, churches and homes are decorated with green to symbolize the eternal life that Jesus brings. An Advent wreath—an evergreen circle with four colored candles surrounding a white one in the middle—is placed in a prominent spot. The candles are then lit one at a time, each Sunday leading up until Christmas. The first candle is the candle of “hope” or “expectation.” On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the center white candle is lit, which is called the “Christ Candle,” a reminder that Jesus, the Light of the Word, has come.
The candle colors and their meaning:
Purple has traditionally been the primary color of Advent, symbolizing repentance and fasting. Purple is also the color of royalty and the sovereignty of Christ.
Pink is also one of the colors of Advent used during the third Sunday of Advent. Pink represents joy or rejoicing and reveals a shift in the season away from repentance and toward celebration.
White is the color of Advent representing purity and light. Many of the advent wreaths contain a 5th candle, the white candle. This is lit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The white candle represents Jesus Christ, who is our sinless, spotless, pure Savior. He is the light come into a dark and dying world. Also, those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.
I did not have a ‘traditional’ round advent wreath, so I decided to go a little non-traditional this year. Being that I have a one year old, who could very easily get his hands on these candles, I decided to go with this metal taper candle holder, which could be kept high on our kitchen counter, being visible from all angles of our living space. I filled the inside of the box with evergreen to represent the eternal life that Jesus brings.
I look forward to lighting the candles each night at dinner with my family gathered around the table and being reminded of what this month is really about. As Advent draws closer, another candle will be lit. With each candle that is light, the darkness will disappear more and more. The advent wreath helps us to spiritually connect the story that surrounds the birth of Jesus, which ultimately leads to our salvation! Thank you Jesus for your promise.
What are some of your holiday traditions? Would love to hear from you!