Advent. I knew nothing about it till about 5 years ago when a Protestant friend celebrated by keeping an Advent calendar- the kind with the little flaps that reveal pictures each day. Even then, I didn't fully know what it was about. It seemed like it was just a countdown of sorts to Christmas. Last year, I began hearing about something called "Advent Conspiracy", designed to essentially put Christ back into Christmas. But it wasn't until this year- a few days ago in fact- that I actually learned what Advent is about. Its about waiting & expectation of Christ's appearing on Christmas day. Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical calendar & is celebrated for 4 Sundays before Christmas with a wreath in which 4 coloured candles are placed. Three of the candles are purple (or dark blue) & one is pink. The purple symbolizes repentance & the pink, hope of Christ's appearing. One candle is lit each week (purple, purple, pink, purple) & prayers are said for faith, hope, joy & peace.
This is my Advent wreath. When I look at it, I'm reminded of my faith in a new way. This year, I get to take part in the ancient story. This year, I "wait"... not in long lines or in traffic, but for Jesus' appearing as the prophets, the Magi, the shepherds, & Mary & Joseph once did.