This is a unique year because the first Sunday of Advent happens to share a weekend with Thanksgiving. And although it feels like a quick transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, it is actually a perfect segue (pronounced seg-way)! Here’s why. We spent the month of November practicing a thankful heart, and now we can focus on being thankful that our God came to earth to be our Savior. Today we will give you information about the first Sunday in Advent so that you have it ready to use with your family on Sunday. We will continue doing this for the next 3 Wednesdays.
History and Meaning
Many of you are familiar with Advent, but here is a quick review. “Advent” is from the Latin word for “coming,” signifying that we are getting ready for Jesus to come. The practice of celebrating Advent began a few hundred years after Christ, as church leaders solidified the habits and practices that the church would follow. It is a beautiful time of reflecting on the monumental event that changed us all forever. Just as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, so also we prepare our hearts for His coming. It is a time of hope, preparation, and excited expectation for what is to come.Traditions
Many churches will light candles as a reminder that Jesus is the light. Another fun tradition is to have a countdown calendar for the month of December until Christmas. Our kids have a cute Fisher Price Advent Calendar that our Aunt Nancy gave them. They really enjoy putting one character on the calendar each day. This is a fun way to build the excitement for Christmas, while still remembering that there is more to the day than just presents. Various denominations have also built nice Scripture curriculums that you can use to teach your children. We will share one version of this curriculum with you. (See the link below.)
Hustle and Bustle
We all know that we have set aside 12.25 as a day to celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby, but December is such a busy month! If we do not purposefully slow down and meditate on the reason for the season it will be buried beneath an avalanche of consumerism and empty (but tasty!) calories! That is the beauty of Advent – each Sunday we remind ourselves that the Light of the World is Coming!
Traditions – Join Us, and Share!
We believe that the celebration of holidays can add stability and rhythm to our lives, which is very beneficial in today’s fast-paced society. (We will share another essay about holidays and the liturgical calendar at the end of December.) We feel that the Advent month of preparation helps us focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Because of this, we invite you to join us in celebrating Advent this year!
To prepare for Advent you will need 5 candles: 3 purple candles, 1 pink candle and 1 white candle for the center. You can also decorate the candles with evergreens which are a symbol of everlasting life. Kits can be bought at Hobby Lobby or any Christian book store or you can make your own. Each week there will be an opening paragraph, a couple scriptures, a song and a prayer. We recommend each family member read a different part so that all can be included.
Our church, Grace Christian Fellowship Church, has put together a wonderful Advent book for each family to follow. You will light one purple candle this week, and we have included the 1st Advent day’s readings below.
| Free Download: First Sunday in Advent Printable |
“What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver” also has a wonderful resource for Advent. Everyday Emmanuel. We bought this last year and really enjoyed it. They include videos and crafts to supplement each week’s readings.
Please share! What are fun Advent and Christmas traditions that your family has? How do you prepare your mind and your heart for Christmas?
Outside Link: Simple Advent Ideas For Families
Outside Link: Lutheran Advent Information