The word Advent is from the Latin words Ad venite – literally means the coming of some one or some thing extremely important. In Christianity it is the beginning of the season of celebration for the coming of the Lord, Jesus. It is the official start of the Christmas season and like Lent is a time of preparation and repentance.
There are many traditions associated with this season – including the Advent wreath – which you may see in church today. One of the four outside candles will be lit during each of the weeks leading up to Christmas. The purple candles symbolize hope, peace and love and the pink represents joy. The candle in the center symbolizes Jesus and His purity.
The wreath itself had its beginnings in northern Europe, where there was an absence of sunlight (just like in Minnesota) and candles were used to brighten a room. Pines were significant because they, along with the circle shape of the wreath, symbolize eternal life.
The Advent wreath is another of those traditions associated with Christmas, but one that has some meaning. Each week these candles are lit and are associated with some important event leading up to birth of Jesus.
We have become so busy preparing, that sometimes we forget what we’re getting ready for. It isn’t about presents – decorations – baking – hurrying here and there.
In the busy weeks ahead, let’s take time to go back to some of these early traditions and use them as a teaching tool for our children so they can learn the true meaning of the Christmas season. It is a time of getting ready – preparing for the most important event ever to happen to humanity – making way for our King, Jesus.