What is Advent and How Can We Celebrate It As a Family?
December 3, 2023 marks the first Sunday of the Advent season. But, given most people’s focus on Christmas Day and the sweeping popularity of commercial Advent calendars that have a flimsy (at best!) connection with the reason for the season, we wouldn’t blame anyone for being a bit hazy on what Advent really is.
So let’s brush off the tinsel and get a clearer view of why and how we can celebrate Advent, not just in church, but at home, too.
Merriam-Webster defines Advent as “the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting.” The word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which we can translate as “coming” or “arrival.” So, in the time spanning those four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we quiet our minds and prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ coming to Earth.
The 2023 Sundays in Advent are:
How Can We Celebrate Advent?
Quieting our minds and preparing our hearts is a lot easier said than done, isn’t it? As much as we may know Christmas needs to be less focused on Black Friday deals, kids’ Christmas lists and ugly sweater parties, there are a lot of expectations around us at Christmas. Where and when do we find quiet, and when we finally do, then what?
Simple as it sounds, we can get a wealth of guidance from a traditional Advent wreath. When the candles in an Advent wreath are lit each week, traditional Bible readings and devotionals center on (1) hope; (2) peace; (3) joy; and (4) love, with a fifth and final candle lit on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Christ’s birth.
Even if you don’t have candles on hand, you can choose a time each Sunday of Advent to focus your family on what the hope, peace, joy and love of Jesus mean to you and to the world. When Jesus came to us, He became God With Us; and He’s here every day, in every circumstance.
Circle up your crew this Sunday (or whatever day you know you can do it) and see where the conversation goes when you ask them, “When did you really need (and receive!) God’s help this week? When did you need hope, find peace, feel joy and give or receive love?” And remind each other that in those moments, Jesus was with you.
Ready to carve out more quiet time with Jesus for your family? Download our free Family Advent Guide for Scriptures, devotions and questions to explore together to spark deeper understanding and anticipation of Christ’s coming these next few weeks.