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Getting Started with Advent

November 17, 2009

If Advent is something new to you, then I would suggest keeping it very simple the first time around, just so you aren’t overwhelmed. You’ll need one candle to represent each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas, and one for Christmas day. (so, a total of five) We use 3 purple candles and one pink one (because those are traditionally the colors people use.) and then a white pillar candle in the middle. That’s really all you need to begin.

Many people assign meaning to each candle to touch on the subject of all the aspects of the Christmas story. We found out that this is a fairly new practice and that historically the candles are just meant to mark the time and did not originally have specific meanings. So we have chosen to take the simpler approach and use the candles as a way of counting down. Still, we do readings each night and enjoy our family Bible study time with singing and prayer by candlelight. It’s a precious time for us.

I’ve posted these before, but if you need some guidance as to what to read each evening, this is a great place to start. If you want more of an explanation about what advent really is, go here. It’s very straightforward and full of information.

In addition to the candles, we like to have a calendar to count down the days until Christmas. This gives us something to look forward to, as each day we do something special to prepare for the season. I usually try to come up with some new ones each year, but some of the tried and true activities include driving around with hot chocolate and looking at lights, making ornaments for our tree, baking treats, the annual gingerbread house, and our tent-in-the-living-room-movie-night, just to name a few. I usually sit down a few weeks prior and make a list of all of our activities and any items I may need to complete any crafts or recipes. This makes things a little easier later on.

As far as making the calendar, well, there are just so many ideas out there. When you are making your plans, just be sure not to over do it. It’s so easy to bite off more than you can chew, so choose carefully to make sure your celebrations will be manageable. I’ve used the same calendar for the past two years and it’s still going strong, so I don’t plan on making a new one any time soon. (one less thing on the ‘to-do’ list!)

So many people have asked me how we do Advent. So, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. There are a few new things we’re adding this year which I plan to share about very soon. I hope this is helpful and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

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