Advent: Waiting for Christmas

Once Thanksgiving and Black Friday are over the retail culture moves us frenetically into Christmas.  BUT WAIT! Something happens before Christmas.  It’s called Advent and it is well worth are attention.

The Church tells time differently from the culture. The Church’s year is more like a circle than a straight line. As the Rev. Jerome Berryman explains in his book Young Children and Worship, the Church “tells time by celebrating the events of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and his ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

advent wreath

The season of Advent is the beginning of a new church year.  Not Year’s Day like our secular calendars, but the first Sunday of Advent.  This year that is December 1st, which happens to be a Sunday.

The last day of Advent is always Christmas Eve, December 24th.  In church, the liturgical color is purple or a royal blue. The word advent comes from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival.” In Advent we are waiting for the coming of the birth of Christ. In our own lives, Advent can be a special time of learning to wait, slowing down, and preparing for the birth of Christ.

How are you at waiting?  Our culture is not a particularly adept teacher at this. It seems to teach us to hurry, be impatient, and want instant gratification. Some of the traditions of Advent such as the Advent calendar and Advent wreath are about the opposite – about slowing down and learning to wait.

Advent is a gift of time if we will only grasp it. It is a time to move more slowly, spend more time with family, friends, and God. Where is Christ trying to break into your life, but you might be too busy and anxious to notice?

Here are some online resources to help you and your family celebrate Advent and learn to wait and anticipate the birth of Christ.

Advent calendars are a fun teaching tool.  These are PDF’s and you can simply print them for use at home.  Journey the Way of Love Advent Calendar and Celtic Advent Calendar

MasonJarAdvent.Mockup2.pngThis Mason Jar Advent Calendar is also a PDF and you can print the tags that go in the jar.

Making your own Advent wreath doesn’t have to be expensive or hard.  Read this article and adapt it to fit your family and what you have on hand.

Pray in Color also has some downloadable PDF Advent calendars that you color – one shape each day.  These are especially nice with children. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see these.