Our family practices a family alter during the normal course of the year. We attempt to have a daily time of bible study, prayer, and singing. During the advent season this brings on special meaning as we prepare spiritually to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas season and lasts the four Sunday prior to Christmas. This year Advent began on November 30th. Advent is a Latin word that means, "the coming". It is a time of anticipation. We have two traditions around the advent season that are both family favorites.
The advent wreath: The advent wreath is a circle symbolizing the continuous life we have in Christ. The three purple candles symbolize repentance. Most advent readings will walk through the scriptures explaining WHY we need a savior, beginning with original sin in Genesis. The final fourth pink candle shifts us from repentance to celebration. We have a Savior! The center white candle would be to show the purity of Christ.
The first Sunday is the candle of Hope. Morning reading: Psalm 146, 147
Evening Reading: Psalm 111, 112, 113, Isaiah 1:1-9, 2 Peter 3: 1-10, Mathew 25, 1-13
The second Sunday of advent we light the candle of Hope as well as the candle of peace.
Morning reading: Psalm 148, 149, 159
Evening Reading: Psalm 114, 115, Isaiah 5: 1-7, 2 Peter 3 11-18, Luke 7: 28 -35
The third Sunday involves lighting the candles of Hope, peace and Joy
Morning reading: Psalm 63, 68
Evening reading: Psalm 103, Isaiah 13 6-13, Hebrews 12: 18- 29, John 3 22-30
On the fourth Sunday we light all three purple candles as well as the pink candle of Love.
Morning reading: Psalm 24, 29
Evening Reading: Psalm 8, 84, Isaiah 42: 1-12, Ephesians 6: 10-20, John 3: 16-21
An additional White candle representing Christ could be placed in the middle of the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve. We are not home on Christmas Eve so we have never done that.
Morning Reading for Christmas Eve Day: Psalm 45, 45, Isaiah 35: 1-10, Revelation 22: 12-17
Evening Reading: Psalm 89 1-29, Isaiah 59: 15b-29, Philippians 2: 5-11, Luke 1: 67-80
Another tradition that we follow during advent involves this advent calender. I made it when the kids were small and it has been used every advent since. There is a daily bible verse for ever day of December that matches one of the symbols. We also sing Christmas carols. This has gotten more and more fun as our son is now able to accompany us on the guitar or the piano. It helps drown out some of our off key singing! Both the girls have beautiful voices.
Here is another idea for a cute advent calender!