After dealing with months of lockdowns, illness and deaths in the pandemic, we want to have something merry in our lives. This is why many people are eagerly decorating for Christmas. Even though we may not be able to celebrate with extended families this year, just the sights and sounds of Christmas bring joy.
The same excitement took place over 2,000 years ago with the birth of a Savior see John 3:16. It was an anticipated event that was prophesied about 700 years prior to it by Isaiah in Chapter 7: 14 saying: 14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: See, the virgin will conceive,[b] have a son, and name him Immanuel.[c]
Even though many Christmas traditions are not directly related to the birth of Jesus, some celebrations do focus on the birth of Christ. One tradition celebrated by many Christian churches is Advent. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word Adventus which means “coming”. The Advent season is the 4 weeks (Sundays) leading up to Christmas Eve in preparation of Jesus’ birth.
Many protestant churches recognize Advent by the lighting of Advent candles on a wreath. The use of an Advent wreath began in a Lutheran minister at a children’s mission in German in 1839. This wreath was much more extravagant in that it contained 20 small red candles (days of the week) and 4 larger white candles (Sundays).
The weeks are broken down into four themes: Hope, preparation, joy and peace that are reflected on by the reading of 28 Bible verses. Not all protestant churches follow this traditional time of preparation.
But in a time of chaos, we can focus on the one true gift of life, sent in the form of a baby. In humanity, our lives will end come to an end on Earth. But by accepting this gift of a Savior, we will live in eternity with our Father in heaven, see Matthew 6:9.