Advent is when we prepare for Christmas, and the wreaths, candles, ornaments and calendars are all Advent symbols we use to celebrate this particular time of the year.
1) Advent Wreath
A wreath is often used as a symbol of the coming or birth of Christ. It is a circle of evergreen branches or candles. It’s used to symbolise the importance of waiting for Jesus. The four coloured candles represent the four weeks of Advent and are lit each week of December leading up to Christmas Day.
The wreath can be decorated with fruits, nuts, and berries that represent the coming of springtime or new life.
2) Advent Calendars
Advent calendars, simple or elaborate, are a fun tradition. Some people also use it to count the days until Epiphany (the end of the Christmas season). And still, others use it to count down the days until Candlemas, which marks the end of the Christmas season on February 2nd or 3rd.
Some Advent calendars have chocolate behind each door. Others contain something else, like small toys or treats for children. You can even make your own Advent calendar by purchasing small gift bags from any craft store or wrapping paper from a party supply store and filling them with surprises for each day leading up to Christmas morning.
3) One of the traditional Advent Symbols is the Advent Candles
Traditionally, there are three purple, one pink or rose-coloured and white candles.
The purple candles represent penance and the birth of Christ the King. These get lighted the first 3 Sundays of Advent.
The pink candle represents joy and happiness. This candle gets lit on the 4th Sunday of Advent.
The white candle represents light and purity. This is a large candle in the centre and means peace.
The candle holders are usually made from wood or glass, with the number and type varying according to personal preference.
4) What is a Jesse Tree?
The Jesse Tree started in the Middle Ages. It’s a type of Advent calendar. It’s named after Jesse, who was David’s father, and who is said to be the ancestor of Jesus (Isaiah 11:1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, and a new shoot will grow from his roots.).
It’s a way to commemorate Advent, the season of Christmas preparation.
We decorate a Jesse tree with ornaments that represent the stories of people, the different prophesies, and events from the old testament up to the birth of Jesus. The Jesse Tree is one way to help children understand the story of Jesus’ birth and his ancestors.
There are many different versions of this Christmas decoration. Some people use coloured pencils or markers, while others prefer chalk, which can be erased when it dries out so that you can always start again if you make a mistake!
The tree starts bare at the beginning of Advent and then gets more and more decorated as the weeks go on. Here is an example of ornaments below:
5) Nativity scene
A nativity scene is a collection of figurines depicting the birth of Jesus.
The Baby Jesus lies in a manger surrounded by figurines of Mary, Joseph and three wise men (or magi). It may also include other figures, like angels, shepherds, and animals.
This is a common way to celebrate the holiday season in many countries worldwide. In some countries, especially Christian ones, this symbolises one of the most important stories in their faith.
For others, it can remind them of the miracle of birth and how important it is to protect life. You can create your own nativity scene using items from around your home and some craft supplies. You could buy one at a store and decorate it with Christmas lights or other decorations.
Advent wreaths, candles and calendars are all ways Christians worldwide can use symbols to celebrate this particular time.
These traditional symbols are part of the Christmas tradition and are loved for their beauty and meaning.
Photo by Any Lane: https://www.pexels.com/photo/decorative-advent-calendar-with-christmas-illustration-in-house-5727795/