What is Advent?
Advent is an important part of the Christian calendar.
It means 'coming' and it's the period before Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus.
It is all about preparing for Christmas Day.
Advent starts on the Sunday nearest to 30 November.
Why do we celebrate?
Christianity focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe to be the Son of God.
Christmas celebrates Jesus' birth so the Advent period reminds Christians to remember and prepare for those celebrations.
What is an Advent wreath?
Here at Headfield during collective worship we have an advent wreath.
The wreath and candles are full of symbolism tied to the Christmas season. The wreath itself, which is made of various evergreens, signifies continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolises the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ.
The candles also have their own special significance. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, and one candle is lit each Sunday. Three of the candles are purple because the colour violet is a liturgical colour that signifies a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice.
The first candle, which is purple, symbolises hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Jesus. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
The second candle, also purple, represents faith. It is called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
The third candle is pink and symbolises joy. It is called the “Shepard’s Candle,” and is pink because rose is a liturgical colour for joy. The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday and is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that Christians have reached the midpoint of Advent.
On the fourth week of Advent, we light the final purple candle to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of Jesus. This final candle, the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolises peace. It reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”
The white candle is placed in the middle of the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ. The colour white is for purity—because to Christians, Christ is the sinless, pure Savior.
Celebrating Advent is an excellent way to prepare your mind and heart for Christmas.
Why do we have Advent calendars?
Many Advent customs involve counting down the days until Christmas begins.
This year at Headfield we have created our own virtual Advent calendar to share and enjoy. Each day, every class of children will open the doors and reveal some Christmas cheer.