Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the four-week period of preparation for Christmas.
Advent isn’t as project-oriented as Lent, but there are many more popular rituals to mark this season. Notably, each Sunday you light candles around a wreath while praying. Today we light a purple candle, next week two, the next week we add a pink candle, then another purple, finally lighting all four plus a white candle for Christmas.
If there are children in the house, you probably have an Advent calendar with little pieces of candy attached to each day, a clever incentive for the children to remind you of the daily Advent prayer. The U.S. Bishops’ Advent website contains a simulated calendar with prayers instead of snacks.
Every year I also like caroling with friends and watching It’s a Wonderful Life with Bruce; one of my goals this Advent is to integrate them into these daily and weekly practices.
Most of all, this year I’m looking forward to sharing these traditions with a non-Catholic Christian friend who knows very little about this stuff, and hoping to gain a deeper appreciation of Advent in so sharing.