Remembering “the reason for the season”

(Pictured are Chelsea, Dannielle and Jocelynn Moran watched as their mother lit the first candle on the family’s Advent wreath. Staff photo by Joyce Moran)

With the harried activities of the season, church leaders often express the concern that the real “reason for the season” is forgotten. They ask that “Christ be put back into Christmas.”

Advent, on the calendar of Christian churches, is that time during which people are encouraged to prepare themselves spiritually for Christmas. It begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and goes through Dec. 24. From the Latin word, Advenire, it means “to come to.” Christians, in other words, are encouraged “to come to” Christmas prepared with hearts ready to welcome the New Born Savior.

There are several ways Christians may observe Advent in their homes. One is with an Advent wreath. With four candles representing each of the four weeks of Advent placed around a sitting wreath, the candles are lit as each week progresses by. A prayer or passage from the Bible that refers to the Savior’s birth is said with each daily lighting.

Another often-used way to observe Advent is with an A dvent calendar. Starting with the number one on Dec. 1, family members open a door or slot on the calendar each day, working their way up to 25. Behind each door may be part of the nativity scene or another symbol of Christmas.

Some families observe Advent by making paper chains. When a member performs a good deed, he or she gets to write it on a link and add it to his or her chain. As the days of Advent pass and the links add up, the chains grow as a visible sign of each member’s effort to reach out and help others while obeying the Lord’s commandment to “Love one another.” The chains may also be used to help decorate Christmas trees or doorways.

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