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Advent Keeps Focus on Christmas


 

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Christmas is a one of the most Holy Days of the year, however because of the introduction of gift giving the customs of Christmas have become overshadowed with materialism forgetting about the true meaning of the season. Thankfully the church provides a season that if used correctly is a vehicle to remember Christ and remember the true meaning of the season.

 

With roots back to 6th century, Advent was set aside as for a period of preparation for Christmas. Although the original manifestations of Advent were not designed to help keep people focused on the real meaning of the season, it is a great gift because how important of a season Advent has become in the modern time. Advent is a Latin word meaning ‘coming’ and it also marks the start to the Catholic Churchs year.  

 

Maybe one of the most important functions of Advent is the need for self examination and penance. It is the perfect time of the year to ask for forgiveness. The colors of the season are purple and as the season progresses, the prophecy of the Old Testament are remembered as well as preparation for the promised second coming of Christ.

 

The Advent Wreath itself is a circle to show Gods endless mercy. The are four candles and sometimes now a fifth white candle, called the Christ Candle that is solely for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Some decorations on an advent wreath include ivy, to show human spirit and how it gravitates toward God. Cedar is sometimes used for eternal life. Holly with all its thorns serves to remind us of the crown of thorns Jesus wore. And lastly the use of  Bay reminds us the Christ triumph over sin and death.

 

The lighting of each advent candle reminds the family that Christ is not only our light but also the Light of the World and as each candle additional gets lit it reminds us that Christs coming is getting brighter and growing near. The Christ Candle, which has been recently included is a much larger and thicker candle and will make the wreath a very large light source, making the Advent wreath the light out of the long winter darkness.

 

Another simple observation that can be added to the celebration of Advent is the setting up of the empty Nativity Scene. By doing this it is a way and adding it the  nighttime advent wreath lighting ceremony, the interjection of the components of the Nativity scene allows for the building and continues to remind the family that the season is about Christ. Initially in the first weeks of Advent. Add the barn animals. Often there are cow and sheep that can be added though the early days of Advent. As week three, the week of Joy approaches, adding Mary and Joseph would be appropriate and of course adding Jesus on Christmas Eve as the Christ Candle is lit. Lastly as you approach the feast of the Epiphany, it would be appropriate to add the three wise men. With some of the larger Nativity scenes now available it may be easy to have 24 characters to add though advent.

 

The activities though advent will help keep the family focused all thought out Advent.

This article was published on Wednesday 06 August, 2008.



Up a level: Liturgical Calendar
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