I’m a little late on the beginning of Advent since it was this past Sunday, but better late than never, right? I thought I would share some memories from Advent growing up and suggestions for Advent this year.
When I was growing up, the weekend after Thanksgiving was the time to bring the boxes up from the basement to decorate for Christmas.
One of my favorite things to set up was the Advent wreath, which is probably news to my mom because I probably groaned about helping. The wreath was and probably still is on a wire holder. The four candles were stored in Mom’s hutch all year long until the start of Advent. I would take them out and place them in the wreath. In the middle of the wreath, we put a figurine with baby Jesus in his crib.
Each night of Advent, as we sat down for family dinner, my brothers and I would take turns leading the Advent prayer before we ate. This being the first week of Advent, I look back on this tradition. I plan to start this with my husband future children, God willing.
According to the USCCB website, “The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass. Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.
“The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead.”
As you light the candles in your Advent wreath, may you keep these things in mind. Start traditions with your families. As someone who knows, the traditions are what mean a lot to children, even though they will never admit it at the time.