So.... in the first blog of Christmas, your blogger gives to you a dog with an Advent Wreath. Actually you can't really see the wreath in the photo, but I thought getting the two mirrors (especially with the reflection of the tree) was more dramatic a photo. Anyway, the candlestick sits in a wreath on the coffee table in the living room and looks really festive.
Well, I had never really "celebrated" Advent until a few years ago. Growing up a Southern Baptist, we never lit candles or read responsive readings that much. However, after a little bit of research and some discussion with a Lutheran friend (Amber, you know who you are), I thought it would be a neat way to daily remember and focus on the spiritual side of the CHRISTmas season.
It's really simple. Put four or five candles in a circle, and four Sundays before Christmas start lighting them. Traditionally, the four candles are purple (symbolizing royalty); often one of the candles is pink, or rose colored (it has to do with the Pope giving out roses during Lent - I know, strange). If you use a fifth candle, it is white, placed in the center, and called the Christ Candle. Each Sunday prior to Christmas another candle is lit. The first Sunday of Advent recognizes Hope; the second, Love; the third (pink), Joy; the fourth, Peace. The fifth candle (white), lit on Christmas Day, celebrates Christ.
So, each day of the week I light the candle(s), read a little devotional, and sing a carol. Obviously, this could be a very special time for families - I mean, I like doing it, but Travis would rather play fetch than read about John the Baptist. I've been using a little devotional book, The Christ of Christmas - Readings for Advent, by Calvin Miller, which is a little atypical for Advent devotionals. It actually has 31 readings (for the whole of December). I also pulled out my old Baptist Hymnal (1975 edition) - it was still in use in the mid 80's, and I bought one at the Baptist Book Store with a gift certificate I received for doing all my memory verses in Sunday School. It has about 20 different carols/ hymns.
What have we learned: this Christmas Season, a Southern Baptist (who attends church in a Strip Mall) and regularly vacations with Methodists will, this coming Sunday, light a pink candle is his Lutheran Advent wreath because the Pope used to pass out roses during Lent.
Friends of other Denominations, please take no offense to any of the statements in the above blog entry. As a Southern Baptist, my favorite line from the book, A River Runs Through It, is from the father, a Presbyterian minister, who says, "Methodists are just Baptists who can read."