Celebrating Advent with Your Family
There are a number of ways families can celebrate the season of Advent:
- Make an Advent wreath and place it in the middle of the dining room table. An Advent wreath consists of a frame holding four candles placed inside a circle of evergreens. The greenery in the wreath symbolizes the promised new life in Jesus. The four candles denote the four Sundays of Advent. There are three purple candles and one rose candle. Purple is a sign of penance, and rose is the color denoting the anticipation of joy. Light a candle on each Sunday evening of Advent, saying a short prayer or singing a verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The light of the candles represents the light coming into the world as we prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.
- Advent calendars are available at many gift stores. The calendar consists of two pieces of cardboard on top of each other. Twenty-four doors are cut out of the top layer. One door is opened each day from December 1 through December 24, revealing a picture.
- There is a long tradition in Christian art of depicting the Jesse Tree, a symbolic tree or vine with spreading branches on which there are images depicting the genealogy of Jesus. There are several variations of the Jesse Tree. In one variation, each ornament has a picture on one side and a Scripture passage on the other. An ornament is hung on the tree every day during Advent.
Jim Campbell is the author of 52 Simple Ways to Talk to Your Kids about Faith: Opportunities for Catholic Families to Share God's Love. He is also a father of two, a grandfather of six, a religious educator, and an author. He is the coauthor of the Finding God religious education program and the general editor of the Harper's New American Bible Study Program.