During the lead up to Christmas day many western Christian churches celebrate the season of advent. The word advent means “coming” or “arrival” and it is most commonly celebrated on the first four Sundays before Christmas. It is usually starts on the Sunday closest to November 30th. Special colours used during this time include purple and blue and this is displayed within the church. During the season of advent candles are lit to show the passing of time. It is a joyous time in the church as a lead up to Christmas day or the coming of Christ.
What is Advent?
The season of Advent is both a celebration of the birth Jesus Christ, and the second coming of Jesus as judge. It is a time when the church remembers the birth of the Jesus, but also looks forward with anticipation to His second coming. The scripture readings for the advent season reflect on the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ and encourage believers to look forward to the day that He will return. In some churches a candle is lit each Sunday by a congregation member in the advent wreath. This serves as a focus for the church teaching.
Commonly an Advent wreath is used to tell the Christmas story. The wreath consists of 5 candles and as each is lit on Sunday a particular part of the Christmas story is read from the scripture. Many families use an advent calendar to mark off the progression of the advent season. These are often a calendar with a door for each day/Sunday that has a small treat, symbol or picture behind it depicting the story of the birth of Jesus. However, this tradition has also been adopted in secular celebrations.