Are you preparing for Advent yet? Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The period of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas Day and is a time of preparation leading up to Christmas. We look back and remember Israel’s waiting for the first coming of Jesus, we look inward and celebrate His presence in our hearts, and we look forward with longing to His second coming. For me, it’s a time for reflection and finding moments of stillness in what can be an incredibly busy season.
Our church will be going through the book, Prepare Him Room, by Marty Machowski during Advent this year. It looks like a great book and I’m excited to read through it as a church family on Sundays and with our family during the week. It has scripture readings, suggested songs and crafts/activities to do together.
The first activity in the book (before starting the readings) is making your own Advent wreath. Some people are very particular about the Advent wreath being evergreen and about the colors of the candles (3 purple, and 1 pink and a white pillar candle for the center). In some traditions, the candles stand for Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherds, and Angels. In others, the candles represent Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Sometimes all the candles are red. Sometimes they are all white or all blue.
If you don’t have time to make your own wreath, craft stores and Christian bookstores (and websites) carry pre-made wreaths. But there are also different ways you can make your own Advent “wreath.” It can be as simple as 4 candles of any kind. Or you can even just light one candle. The candles are simply a symbol of the light of God coming into the world through His son, Jesus Christ. Please, just don’t let this be the thing that holds you back from making time during the season of Advent to “prepare Him room.”
Here are some different candle arrangements I’ve done in years past:
Ann Voskamp’s Journey to Bethlehem candle spiral with traditional Advent candles marking the Sundays:
Journey to Bethlehem with just tealight candles
Advent candle holder (but not a wreath) with traditional colors
Four tealights in glass holders in a pottery tray
Pillars in a wooden tray
Advent candle holder with white candles
Pillars in a tray
Traditional Advent wreath with white candles
You can probably tell I have a preference for white candles!
There are many, many more ideas on Pinterest. But, just as Christmas is not all about the lights, the tinsel, and the presents, Advent is not about the candles. It’s all about your heart. If Jesus is already your Savior, Advent is a wonderful time to be mindful of His presence. If He isn’t yet, now is the perfect time to accept His gift of salvation.
I’ve also created an Advent playlist. These are songs of longing and reflection. Of the coming light of Jesus into our dark world. I pray it’s a blessing to you during Advent.