Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Advent Conspiracy

As a practicing United Methodist, Advent is one of my favorite times of the year. Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of Christ. In the church calendar, Advent begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas, and is celebrated through Christmas Eve. Then we enter the Christmas season, which lasts until January 6th, Epiphany. Epiphany is the day that the arrival of the Magi to the Christ child is celebrated.

Traditions of Advent in the United Methodist church involve the Advent wreath. The wreath doesn't necessarily have to be made of greenery, but instead is a series of 5 candles (though this depends on how traditional the church using the wreath is). Usually there are four purple candles and one white candle. On each Sunday in Advent, a purple candle is lit, and someone in the church (usually a lay family, though not always) reads a short devotion on one of the following: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. On Christmas Eve, the white candle, or Christ candle, is lit to signify His coming. Some advent wreaths include one pink candle in place of one of the purple candles. The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, and is done so in honor of Mary.

Advent is a beautiful time of preparation before the coming of the Christ child, and is an excellent reminder of the reason we celebrate at all. This Advent season, my church is participating in a study called the Advent Conspiracy. The video below gives a glimpse of what the conspiracy is about.

             Spend less on gifts
             More on presence
             Love like Jesus

Are you preparing for Christmas with an attitude of Advent? What helps you stay centered during a season that has become hectic and consumer-driven? Will you make a commitment to spend less on gifts and more on presence?

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