During the holiday season, many homeschool families lighten study schedules to focus on togetherness, baking, and the joy that comes with giving. Like many homeschool families, I too love the Christmas season. Also, like many of you, my husband and I worry about the real meaning of Christmas getting lost through modern celebration and tangible gifts.
The celebration of Advent helps us refocus on the depth and meaning of Jesus’ life and sacrificial love. The Advent wreath, showcasing three purple candles and one pink candle, serves as a visual reminder to review Jesus’ story in the Bible and discuss the hope and joy of salvation.
The wreath, being a circle shape with no beginning or end, symbolizes the immortality of our souls, God’s eternal nature, and the everlasting life we find in Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17, ESV)
We prepare our wreath and start celebrating Advent season four Sundays prior to Christmas Day.
The fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, and every day thereafter until Christmas Day, we light one purple candle. This “Prophecy” candle helps us focus on hope, representing the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
The third Sunday prior to Christmas, and every day until Christmas, we light the second purple candle (in addition to the first purple candle). Representing faith and preparation, the “Bethlehem” candle is a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
The second Sunday prior to Christmas, and every day until Christmas Day, we light the third candle, (in addition to the previously mentioned two purple candles). This pink candle, the “Shepherd’s Candle,” reminds us of the joy experienced at Jesus’ birth.
Then on the Sunday before Christmas, and every day until Christmas Day, we light the three previously mentioned candles before lighting the fourth candle which is purple. This fourth candle, the “Angel’s candle,” reminds us of peace and the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth and good will toward others.” God's intentions are kind and when we take His word to heart, we spread his light into other's lives through kindness and love.
Our family likes to add one more lit candle in the center of our wreath on Christmas Day. This larger white “Christ” candle represents the gift we were given through Jesus Christ’s birth and the fact that His selfless sacrifice washes the stains of sin from our souls.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, ESV)
Have a truly blessed season celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, NIV)
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