Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I didn't grow up lighting Advent candles at home, but we did it in church, and I always thought it was such a beautiful tradition. I wanted to do it at home with my family as well, but somehow it just never got done. Until this year: I decided to just do it!  I found an easy Advent decotional to do with the family online last year and so I pulled it out to do weekly.

It wasn't easy. It never seemed to work to do it on Sunday, but I adjusted and we lit a candle each Monday night at dinner.

This week marked our last candle of Advent. We called it the Jesus Candle. But I have also seen it named as the Joy candle or Love candle. (I'm sticking with Jesus, until I learn I'm completely wrong!) I don't really understand why they have different names, you'd think that they would all be known as they same titles, but I've seen different variations for the candles we lit. In my little on-line-found family devotional, we lit these ones:

 Week one: candle of Hope  "God gave a promise that a Savior would come. For many years, God's people waited and hoped. In Bethlehem, long ago, Christ came just as He promised. This candle reminds us that our hope is in Christ, who keeps His word."

Week two: candle of Faith "But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who had believed our message?' Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard the the word of Christ."

Week three: candle of  Love "I wonder if God wept with joy as the greatest of all Christmas gifts, His Son Jesus, was placed in a manger's crib. God's Mightly, Miraculous gifts of love are found in unsuspecting, even difficult, places. Toys break; clothes shrink. But love endures. It overcomes. Life's circumstances do not diminish it."

The Candle of Joy is the last one. Week four. I read this to the kids:  No one has ever loved us like Jesus. Unlike our love, His love was not intimidated by pain. We avoid pain and discomfort. And rightfully so! He did not avoid it. Instead, He chose it. His love is powerful.
In another world, Jesus was ever so safe. There was no death. No suffering. No pain. No sorrow. No rejection or betrayal. He was wanted. Powerful, cherished and safe could describe his heavenly home. Yet he stepped out of His safe world and came into our hazardous world. Why? So that someday, we could leave our hazardous world and live in His safe home.

I am overwhelemed by His love and His unspeakable gift!

I really don't know if lighting these Advent candles changed much for the kids or helped them focus more on the reason for the season, but it really did help me out. It was good to light candles. And it was good to even attempt to have focus on Him for an hour or so. And I am reminded that if I try this again next year, it will get even better and eventually it will become a tradition that the kids are used to, and hopefully one day anticipate!

Maybe I will do a bit more searching for a different Advent devotional. If there is one that you are doing with your family, I would love to hear a recommendation. This one was good, but since it's only our first time, maybe there is a better one for us.  (Sadly, I can't even remember where I got this one from. I printed it off the internet last year, but when I tried to find it this year, just to give credit where it's due, I couldn't find it. So, if this is yours, or you know where it was found, please do let me know. I would like to add a link and read more on them, thanks!)

Starting new family traditons aren't easy...especially if they are completely new to you! But I am determined to continue this one. I think we need to focus more on what this Advent season is all about. And not just the "church answer", but really learn and really feel and really participate...and really make a difference.


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