The season of Advent begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas...so this year, Advent began last Sunday, November 30th. During this time leading up to Christmas, Christians should be thinking of the coming of Christ...both in Bethlehem a couple thousand years ago and in the future. During Advent, the Scripture readings at Mass focus on the prophecies in the Old Testament of the coming Messiah and on the anticipation of the imminent arrival of Mary's child. As we hear these readings and are reminded of the great gift that we received on that first Christmas, we should also be thinking about the great gift we will receive when Christ returns. Are our hearts ready to receive this gift?
Lots of people buy and use Advent calendars. It's a great way to help children "countdown" to Christmas by opening a "door" each day. There's usually a piece of candy or some other trinket behind the door each day. But my favorite symbol of Advent is the wreath. Catholic churches (and many Protestant ones) will have an Advent wreath this time of year. There are 4 candles on the wreath...3 purple and 1 pink. Yes, purple is the color of royalty, but it is also the color of penitence. Pink is a symbol of rejoicing. Many people also have Advent wreaths in their homes to serve as a reminder of this preparation season.
Quite awhile ago, Shawn asked me if I could please get us an Advent wreath to light at home. Unfortunately, I forgot it until we were sitting in church last weekend. So this past week, I went on a hunt for an Advent wreath. It took quite a bit of time, but I finally found one! Unfortunately, this was the best I could come up with.Since we wanted an actual wreath (not just a metal ring), I decided to make one myself. I ended up buying some garland and cutting it down to size with wire cutters. Then I also used some ribbon to spruce it up a bit. And here's the final product!I was going to include an explanation of the symbols of the Advent wreath, but frankly, that would take awhile. And besides, I think that this article does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could! I encourage you to take the time to read it if I've piqued your interest at all in learning a little bit more about the history and symbolism of Advent. :-)