Today is the first Sunday of Advent. What is the season of Advent about?
Advent begins with the 4th Sunday prior to Christmas. The word Advent means the coming, the arrival. The season of Advent symbolizes the coming of Jesus our Lord and King as a human baby. It is a time in which we are to prepare to celebrate His birth and to focus our minds on the true meaning of the season. But it is much more than that. It is really about three comings. It is also when we reflect on the second coming of Jesus, when He will return in glory and when we remind ourselves about how Jesus comes to us every single day.
Reading: Isaiah 9
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
Reflection/prayer: My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace. I never stop thanking my God for you for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, who helps you speak and understand so well. Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Jesus Christ is true. You are not missing out on any blessings, as you wait for Him to return. And until the day Christ does return, He will keep you completely innocent. God can be trusted, and He chose you to be partners with His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Activity for today: Making an Advent wreath: The meaning behind the Advent wreath: there are 4 or 5 candles in the Advent wreath, representing the 4 weeks (and Christmas Day if the fifth is used) of Advent. The 3 purple candles symbolize waiting, prayer, repentance, preparation, hoping and longing with expectation for the arrival of Christ. The pink candle, lit on the third Sunday, reminds us how close Jesus’ coming is and that we need to finish preparations – it symbolizes the joy we feel at the coming of Christ. The fifth candle is white to symbolize the purity of Jesus. More recently, some people use blue candles – 3 royal blue in place of the purple, while retaining the pink candle or using a light blue candle in its place. Purple was used as it is the colour of royalty and penance but some wanted to distinguish between Lent and Advent. In addition, blue represents hope.
The wreath is round to symbolize the everlasting and unending love of God. Evergreens represent the hope of eternal life given to God’s children. Some people use all one kind of evergreen for their wreaths but originally they tended to be made of a variety, each signifying something different. Laurel stands for victory over suffering; pine, holly, yew all represent immortality; cedar symbolizes strength and healing. Holly also reminds of Jesus’ crown of thorns. Pinecones or seed pods or other such items that may be added to the wreath represent life and resurrection. The light of the candles, of course, symbolize the light of God.
There are many different varieties that can be made. I don’t use real evergreen boughs for mine because I’m allergic to them but you certainly can. The one above is one of my favourites for making with children. It is comprised of toilet paper tubes and a base of a paper plate. Everything is covered in construction paper but you could also use felt or paint or you could make the whole thing out of craft foam. The idea behind it is that you make paper flames for the candles and tuck them down inside the tubes. When it’s time to “light” the candles, the child can pull up one of the flames. Easy, peasy, and super safe. Another idea I had for one was to make one from felt or craft foam, just cutting out the shapes and then placing magnetic strip on the back of each piece so the child could have a magnetic Advent wreath on the fridge. One final idea is to cut out 3 rectangles of purple and 1 of pink tissue paper and to tape these in a window. These can be embellished with some green holly leaves around each candle. Each Sunday, a yellow flame can be added to each candle and this will create a pretty window display for the Advent season.
Blessing the wreath: O God, by whose word all things are made holy, pour forth your blessings upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. May the light that shines forth illuminate our way as we journey toward Christmas. We ask this through Christ who is the Light of the World. Amen
I’ll be posting more devotions and ideas each Sunday of Advent.
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