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The Season of Advent

The good news of Advent is that if we wait, while we wait, in the waiting, God comes.

The word Advent means “coming.” It is a time to slow down, be quiet and meditate about the real meaning of Christmas. These four weeks before Christmas are a time to prepare our hearts and our lives as we wait for the coming of Jesus. We focus on the promise that God made to his people and how that promise was fulfilled in Jesus. Advent is also the beginning of the liturgical year. The season begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on the day before Christmas. It may be a time for new beginning for us as Christians.

In antiquity, purple dye was very expensive, so purple came to signify wealth, power and royalty. Therefore, purple is the color for the season of Advent, which celebrates the coming of the King. Many churches use blue in Advent which signifies hopeful expectation and is traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary. Somewhere along the way the third candle of the Advent wreath turned pink in honor of Mary. Originally, Advent was a solemn fast in preparation for Christmas, so the custom extended to the third Sunday in Advent was meant to liven it up a little bit.

Can Christmas still change the world?

The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship. So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt? Somehow, we’ve traded the best story in the world for the story of what’s on sale.

Family Activities

Week 1:  

Week 2: Make One More List

This Advent, have your family write down what you want for Christmas that can’t be bought at a store. For example, time to see friends, a chance to talk to grandparents. Or, write a reverse Christmas list, instead of the things you want, write down things you are grateful you already have. One idea to help children and youth understand Advent would be to focus on the “giving” not the “getting.” Have children write the list of the gifts they will be giving and to whom.

Week 3: What does the “joy of anticipation” mean to you? Discuss this with your family at dinner this week.

Week 4:

Optional:

Read the Advent Readings together and discuss:

 

First Sunday of Advent – December 3, 2017

  – Isaiah 64:1-9

  – Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

  – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

  – Mark 13:24-37

 

Second Sunday of Advent – December 10, 2017

  – Isaiah 40:1-11

  – Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

  – 2 Peter 3:8-15a

  – Mark 1:1-8

 

Third Sunday of Advent – December 17, 2017

  – Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

  – Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55

  – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

  – John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 24, 2017

  – 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

  – Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

  – Romans 16:25-27

  – Luke 1:26-38