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Advent? What's that?

As we approach the church season of Advent you may be wondering what it is all about?

Advent means coming or arrival. The season marks the beginning of the Church year and the exact date sometimes varies. There are four Sundays of Advent and when it starts depends on what day Christmas falls on! So this year (2017) December 25 is on a Monday and counting back four Sundays means the first day of Advent is on December 3.

You will notice that the church colors switch to blue during Advent. There is a special wreath with 4 candles surrounding a bigger white candle in the middle, called the Christ candle. Each week another candle is lit so that by the time Christmas comes the wreath is fully lit up! This wreath represents the coming of Christ-the advent of our Lord!

There are all sorts of things we do to get ready for Christmas-buying and wrapping gifts, decorating our homes and , trees, baking cookies and sending cards. Some of these things help us to focus on Christ's birth but others just become a chore; something we must do rather than something we get to do!

Advent should be a time for us to prepare our hearts for the arrival of our Lord. What might you do differently this year to better prepare? Are there things you want to differently? Are there new traditions you might like to add or things you choose not to do because they don't help you focus on Jesus' arrival?

May I suggest you begin by choosing a Gospel to read through? Everyday set aside some time to red God's word and let it sink into your heart. As you do so, consider what the advent of Christ means in your life and in our world.

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