As we think about Advent, we often think about waiting. We’re just hanging around. Waiting for something important that hasn’t quite happened yet. And, if we wait long enough, it will happen. And it will be great!
If we’re entirely honest with ourselves, we sometimes feel like Advent is season designed to fill time and space until we get to the real event – Christmas.
The Christian year begins four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. It’s seems a bit odd, why don’t we start with the main event? After all, Advent just sits there as a non-season kind of season, or at least a pre-season. It feels like the games that are played before the real season of baseball or hockey actually begins. They are nice enough, they just don’t count, so why have them at all?
Let me just say, “Advent counts!”
And yes, you’re right, Advent is all about waiting. But, it is a kind of active waiting for the birth of Christ. It is not about sitting around all day doing nothing, or even getting involved in the busyness of shopping, baking, and decorating. Advent is about the active and dedicated activity of preparing for the coming of Christ, both as the child in the manger and also into our world once again as the living Son of God, sent to redeem us and reveal the kingdom of God to us all. Just as parents plan and prepare for the birth of a child, and just as that planning and preparing makes the gift of their baby all the more treasured and meaningful, the activities of Advent help us prepare for the coming of Immanuel; God with us.
During Advent some Christians set aside the weeks before Christmas to intentionally read the scripture stories that outline the promises of God for this new kingdom and the anticipated new king. We read from Isaiah and Micah and the gospels all of the stories foretelling of his birth as well as the transformed lives of Mary and Joseph and everyone else who participated in the story of the nativity.
Some people also like to mark these weeks so that they pay attention to how close we are getting to the birth of Jesus. Advent calendars are enjoyed by children (and even adults), and more and more homes are now including Advent wreaths as another way of marking time and growing intensity of light as Jesus comes closer and closer to entering our homes.
Attached below you will find a Youtube video teaching you how to make just such an Advent wreath for your home. In it I show a few different Advent wreaths that make use of common materials readily available at home, and then I teach you in detail how to make a wonderful Advent wreath with evergreen clippings just like the Advent wreath in the picture above.
You will also find a written ‘recipe’ attached below the video that outlines the materials and instructions for making your wreath.
If you would like a downloadable Advent Devotional booklet to accompany your wreath go here and you will find one to download.
Finally, as you light the candles of your Advent wreath, first one, then two, then three, and then four; one per week until you find yourself lighting the Christ candle at Christmas, take time to gaze on the growing light and wonder what it is you are waiting in hope for this Advent. How will Jesus, coming as the light to overcome all of the darkness in this world, transform you this Christmas.