8:38 AM 1st December 2019
What Is Advent?
photo by Crazy House Capers
Can you believe that December has started so we can open the first doors on our Advent calendars!
The definition of Advent is the arrival of a notable person or thing, the first season of the Church year leading up to Christmas.
It is the season observed in Christian churches for the waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus.
Advent means 'coming' in Latin.
photo by Doug Belshaw
Advent calendars count the days until Christmas.
The tradition of the Advent calendar dates back to the 19th century when German protestants used to make chalk marks on doors or lit candles in order to count the days until Christmas.
In the early 1900s paper calendars were popular in Germany, although people made their own ones as early as 1850.
During World War II there was a shortage of cardboard and so the production of Advent calendars stopped.
The first Advent calendars showed scenes from the Christmas Story and other Christmas images like robins and snowmen.
Now the calendars have all sorts of popular themes and television programmes.
The most popular Advent calendars seem to be the ones that have a chocolate behind each window, I wonder why!
The first calendar with chocolate in it was made in 1958, although they only became really popular in the 1980s.
The Advent Wreath
Advent Wreath by Becky
In Christian Churches there is the lighting of the Advent wreath.
During the season of Advent one candle is lit on each Sunday until Christmas.
These normally comprise of three purple and one pink candle.
The first candle or the 'Prophecy candle' remembers the prophets who foretold the birth of the Messiah.
The second purple candle or the 'Bethlehem candle' symbolises Christ's manger.
On the third Sunday in Advent the pink candle is lit or the 'Shepherds candle' which represents joy.
The last purple candle is lit on the fourth Sunday and is often called the 'Angels candle' which represents peace.
On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day the white centre candle is lit. This is often called the 'Christ candle' and represents the life of Christ come into the world. It is a white candle to represent purity.
Christingles by Rachel Ford
Christingles originated in Germany and possibly the English version of 'Christkindl' which means little Christ child, who was the present bringer in some parts of Germany and Europe and represents the baby Jesus.
There are five different parts to the Christingle:
The orange represents the world which is round.
The candle in the middle stands tall and gives light like the love of God.
The red ribbon goes round the world and represents the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross.
The four sticks point North, South, East and West but also represent the four seasons.
The fruit and nuts (sometimes sweets) represent the fruits of the earth which grow because of the sun and the rain.
So now as it is the 1st December and the beginning of Advent you can open the first window of your calendar and remember that Christmas is on its way!