Advent... A Time To Remember
Many churches make use of Advent wreaths during this season, with one
candle representing each of the four Sundays of Advent.
The rose candle is lit on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. During Christmas Day,
four lit white candles are used.
Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") is a season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus; in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday.
The progression of the season may be marked with an Advent calendar, a practice introduced by German Lutherans. At least in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25; in other words, the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive.
Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming. Christians believe that the season of Advent serves a dual reminder of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting that Christians today endure as they await the second coming of Christ.
Centuries ago, the importance of this event caused many Christians to feel that it was inadequate merely to mark off only one day on the yearly calendar for celebrating this incredible gift from God. Believers had (and still do have) such a sense of awe and overwhelming gratitude and wonder at what happened that first Christmas that they felt the need for a period of preparation immediately beforehand. They could then not only take time themselves to meditate on it, but also teach their children the tremendous significance of Christmas.
It is a time of hope . . . thinking about what kind of world we hope for, and how we can help to bring it about.
It is a time to pray for peace . . . thinking about those places in our homes, neighborhoods, and world where we so desperately need the Prince of Peace.
It is a time of love . . . receiving expressions of love from others and demonstrating love ourselves.
It is a time of joy . . . being with family and friends, finding concrete ways to make our joy real through music, dance, and creative activities.
Sadly, with the wane of Christianity in Western nations, the Advent Calendar, although still enormously popular with all children, has lost its true meaning. Many, many children and their parents have no idea of the history of the little calendar or its true purpose, which is to prepare us for the celebration of the advent of the Christ-child. Even if they do know, most would not care. Also, the makers of today's Advent calendars are anxious only to sell their product, and the majority of these neither know nor care about the meaning and purpose of Advent.