It hit me yesterday that it was the New Year’s Eve of Sundays. The church calendar flips over this week to start a new year. And that new year begins with what has become for me one of my favorite seasons—Advent.
Advent comes from the Latin words “ad” and “venio” meaning to “come toward.” As we come toward the holy day of Christmas, Advent offers a time to prepare our hearts for receiving the Christ Child Jesus, our Messiah! As you do this this year, consider an Advent Guide that may be useful for you and your community.
I think the early church fathers were on to something when they, centuries ago, noticed the dreariness of fall and winter—the change of the colors, the bleak snow-covered hillsides—and put the celebration of Jesus’ birth—Christmas—on the calendar during this cold and dark time. And to think that this was years before anyone knew about Daylight Saving Time ending.
I find that that dreariness is fought off through the celebration of Advent. In the midst of the darkest times of the year, Advent celebrates the joys of the Christmas season in its anticipation of the big day of Christmas. Advent, which starts this coming Sunday November 28th, is a time to reflect on God’s goodness this past year, thank Him for His presence and to allow Christmas Day to be with us a bit beyond the one afternoon or evening with family and opening presents. To this end, I’ve put together an Advent Guide that will show you what to consider as you make your own wreath and how to celebrate each Sunday of Advent together as a family. If you have celebrated Advent in the past, you know the fun that this practice brings you and your family. If this is your first time to consider celebrating, start now!
To download the Advent Guide, click here. And if you decide to celebrate, please let me know—I would enjoy knowing who is celebrating with my family this year.
Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, as well as the first day of the Church Calendar, a new year started off in the anticipation and hope of Jesus’ birth. In more recent years, Advent has become a time to emotionally and mentally prepare myself for the coming of the Christ Child—how might I want to receive Him this year? How have I lived in a place of reception of Him and toward what He is calling me?
A fellow spiritual director has put together a wonderful devotional guide for this Advent season that I would commend to you as well as a guide on how to prepare an Advent wreath for your own use at home. This is a great activity to do with your kids. Enjoy and Happy Advent!