Advent is a set of traditions that help Christians focus on waiting for the return of Christ. Here are some that you might choose to practice.
1. Spruce the place up. You begin greening up the place, placing wreathes and other greeneries around your place to symbolize new life, which is beautifully ironic in the dead of winter.
2. Light a candle. The Advent wreath includes five candles, often four in blue and one in white. The first candle is lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which is spent focusing on Hope. Subsequent Sundays might be spent on other gospel stories like John the Baptist or the angel appearing to Mary.
3. Get a calendar. Advent may be best known today for its calendars. Often used for children, each day might have a scripture and a piece of chocolate for each day leading up to Christmas. Rather than eating all of the candy, the children learn the value of delayed gratification and it reminds me that God is not finished, with me or this world.
4. Daily Readings. You can find a calendar of readings here taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Some of these texts will be used on Sundays to shape our liturgy. By reading throughout the week, you will find that your days become more and more focused on waiting for the return of Christ. This is particularly powerful when practiced with friends, family or your neighborhood group.
[Written by Chris Morton] [Photo by ziggiau @ Flickr]