Today is the first Sunday of Advent. This is our Advent Wreath. For our wreath, this candle on the first Sunday of Advent represents Hope.
Here is a great link to guide you through celebrating Advent if you have never done this at Christmas:
A few weeks ago, I was asked to write something about Advent, here is what I submitted –
In recent weeks, I’ve been preparing for or waiting for two events; a visit from my parents, and the death of a relative from advanced cancer. Both occurred on November 10th. In both instances the preparations leading up to these events caused me to reflect on many things as I became more focused on the actual event. There were happy and sad memories to recall and some personal times of reflection. I was much more conscious of this being a meaningful waiting period and the actions required to prepare for these events were much more significant that my annual Christmas preparations have become in recent years.
There is an important benefit to a waiting period before an event. We are able to prepare both physically and mentally. In recent years Christmas preparations have become a chore that I have not enjoyed, most likely because I didn’t take the time necessary to prepare my heart for the occasion. In the busyness of life, I put off all thoughts of Christmas until the very last minute, forfeiting the joy of anticipating the season for myself and possibly for members of my family.
As you wait for an event you begin to focus on the object more as time passes; your priorities become clear and your actions more in line with your priorities. This should also happen around Christmas as you make preparations for gatherings and celebrations, buying gifts, decorating, cooking special food, and enjoying special music. When you look at the bigger picture of Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and His eventual return, you can see the theme of Advent, or waiting throughout Christianity. In a sense, the Christian life is about waiting and what you do in the meantime to prepare for Christ’s return. Like Advent there are aspects of hope and accountability in the waiting. As Advent is considered the beginning of the Church year, it is an important opportunity to get your heart and mind focused as you start a new year of life in Christ.
(©Mary Peter, 2006)