Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown.
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival" and describes the season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent. But during this seasons we also anticipate the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.
Most of us prepare for the “coming” of Christmas by decorating our homes and church. We make and buy gifts for family and friends. We plan visits to our favorite people and places. We prepare for the meals and feasts that we will have over the holidays.
But we also need to prepare ourselves for Christ’s advent… in history, in the future, and in our own lives.
More importantly, we must teach our children and grandchildren how to prepare for His Advent.
On the following pages you will find a brief order of celebration of Advent for use with your entire family, one for each Sunday in Advent. This is a tried and true method of thinking about and preparing for the Advent of Jesus.
Click on the links below, or download a printable program that your entire family can use as you light each advent candle: