Advent - Keep Christmas Focused on Christ
We all know how easy it is for the true meaning of Christmas to be lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. Our families often have a wonderful time--happy to see each other and of course, the excitement of gifts and Santa’s delivery. Our celebrations often leave out the worship of our Savior and Lord, Jesus. The whole point of the season can be overlooked if we do not actively seek to overcome the cultural norms for the season and return to the worshipful focus it was meant to have.
Celebrating Advent is a good way to help refocus the season on Jesus, the Christ while still having all the fun and excitement of family celebrations and Santa’s deliveries.
The celebration of Advent can be simple yet effective in retaining a Christ-centered Christmas. An individual devotional or family devotional guide, a Bible, a few candles, several worshipful Christmas carols and a little time each day (in the morning, at dinner time, in the evening--whenever works) beginning Sunday December 3, 2017 through Christmas Day can make this Christmas season spiritually meaningful as well as just plain old fun.
Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. Advent, as part of the liturgical calendar, is the time leading up to Christmas, which includes the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Many churches celebrate Advent with special services, which include the lighting of candles on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. These special services are to prepare attenders’ hearts for the celebration of Christmas Day, the day Jesus was born. The first Sunday of Advent celebrates “Hope.” The Second celebrates “Love.” The third, “Joy” and the fourth, “Peace.” Then Christmas day is the culmination of the celebration, usually at home because Christmas only falls on Sunday every few years. Some churches have Christmas Eve services to end their Advent season.
The candles used in the celebration of Advent are often blue or purple in color for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays (Hope, Love and Peace) with the 3rd candle being pink or rose colored (Joy). If a 5th candle is used, The Christ Candle, it is white or gold in color. At church, you may see candles like this arranged in a circle with the Christ Candle in the middle.
You can use this same arrangement for celebrating Advent at home or you can use an arrangement of candles for every day of Advent from the 1st Sunday to Christmas Day. You might choose red or green for your daily candles while your Sunday candles and the Christ Candle remain as described above. This takes quite a few candles but it allows more candles to be lit each day as Christmas approaches so that by Christmas Day, all of the beautiful candles are burning at once.
A suggested devotional time to celebrate advent each day would include:
1. Light the appropriate candle(s).
2. Read Scripture (a Scripture may be suggested in your devotional guide).
3. Read and discuss the Devotion for the day.
4. Sing or listen to a worshipful Christmas carol or hymn.
6. Blow out your candle(s).
AVENT DEVOTIONAL GUIDES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE CONCORD BAPTIST ASSOCIATION OFFICE. There is a guide for individuals and a guide for families. The cost is $1 for each while supplies last.
Advent with an arrangement of 5 candles:
- Arrange the 4 “Sunday” candles around the Christ Candle.
- On the 1st Sunday of Advent (Dec 3) light the first Sunday candle. Remember, the pink or rose candle is for the 3rd Sunday. The blue or purple candles are for the other three Sundays.
- Every day during your 1st week of Advent Celebration. Relight the 1st Sunday’s candle.
- On the 2nd Sunday of Advent, light the 1st and 2nd Sundays’ candles. Relight both candles during each day of the 2nd week of Advent Celebration.
- Continue this pattern, adding a candle each week until all four are burning during your celebration time.
- On Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, light all of your candles for your final Advent devotional (Celebration).
Advent with a candle for every day of Advent
Your candles will have a slightly different number and arrangement each year depending on what day of the week Christmas Day falls on. For this year (2017) your candle arrangement would look like this.
B = blue or purple for 3 Sundays
P = pink or rose for the 3rd Sunday
W = white or gold for the Christ Candle (in the middle)
R = red or green for the days of the week other than Sunday and Christmas Day.
- You can vary these colors based on personal preference.
Light the first B candle on the left on Sunday December 3. On Monday December 4, light the B candle you lit on Sunday and the first R candle on the right. On Tuesday, light the B and the R candles you have lit before plus the first R candle on the left. Continue this pattern until all the candles are burning on Christmas Day.
Visit the Concord Baptist Association office to pick up your Advent Devotional Guide and to see an example of each of the candle arrangements described above.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas season. We pray celebrating Advent will help focus your thoughts on the reason for the season -- Jesus, the Christ.