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November 29, 2018, 4:40 PM

Observing Advent this Christmas

Observing Advent?  That doesn’t sound like a Baptist tradition, does it?

Actually, you’d be surprised. Many Baptist churches around the world observe Advent, including quite a few Southern Baptists. 

What is Advent? Advent means “arrival” or “coming.” Observing Advent helps us to prepare our hearts for Christmas by remembering who Jesus is and why He came. The weekly observance can be done with the entire family involving reading related Bible passages, praying and lighting the candle. You could even sing Christmas hymns as well! Family interaction and participation is what makes Advent special for the whole family. 

Advent is observed on the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Some years Advent will begin on the last Sunday of November.

Traditionally, an Advent wreath is a circle of evergreens that symbolizes eternity and eternal life. Four candles are placed on the wreath. A new candle is lit each week. In the center of the wreath is a larger candle that will be lit last on Christmas Day; this is the Christ’s Candle. 

The first candle represents hope; it is lit the first Sunday of Advent. This first candle is also known as the “Prophet’s Candle.”

On the second Sunday of Advent, the hope candle (the Prophet’s Candle) is lit first. Then the second candle, known as faith or Bethlehem’s Candle, is lit.

On the third Sunday of Advent, the first two candles are lit (symbolizing hope and faith). Then the third candle is lit; this is the “Shepherd’s Candle,” which represents joy.

On the fourth Sunday of the first three candles are lit (symbolizing hope, faith and joy). Then the fourth candle is lit; this one symbolizes peace. It is the “Angel’s Candle.”

On Christmas Day, all four candles are lit. Then the candle in the middle is lit, which is “Christ’s Candle.” 

Check back with this blog each Friday prior to Advent. We’ll post a plan for each Sunday’s Advent observance that you can do with your family. You might even want to sing Christmas hymns that come to mind from the Bible readings. 

May this observance of Advent help prepare you and your family’s heart for Christmas and to remember the real meaning of Jesus’ birth and why it matters.

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