How to Celebrate Advent

Advent is a liturgical season that includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the church year. For many of us, it may feel difficult to enter into the Advent season, given the demands and responsibilities during this season, but Advent is a time to prepare ourselves for Jesus. It is also a time to ponder things in our hearts, just like Mary did, and offer peace in the world around us. The first few weeks of Advent can feel overwhelming and full of stress and gift buying, instead of peace and prayer. This year, we are offering ways to celebrate the Advent season to help prepare our hearts for Jesus. We pray that the activities, prayers and songs listed below help you deepen your prayer this Advent season. 

Sundays in Advent

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Light an Advent Wreath

An Advent Wreath is a circular symbol of God's endless love and eternal joy. Display your Advent wreath and candles on your dinner table, mantel, or any special place inside your home. At the start of each Sunday of Advent, light one candle (starting with one purple candle on the first Sunday of Advent). Sing a verse from the hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and pray the prayer below:

Leader: Come, Lord Jesus, set us free. All: Come, Lord Jesus, come.

(Light the Advent candle[s] for that week.)

Thank you, Lord, for this season of Advent when we prepare for your arrival.
Help us to keep our eyes open
to see you when you come to us.

Bless this food, which reminds us of the banquet we will all share with you one day in heaven. Amen.

Leader: Come, Lord Jesus, set us free. All: Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Each week of Advent, light an additional candle. Note how you feel during this experience and prepare your heart for Jesus. 

Click here to purchase our Ceramic Advent Wreath and here to purchase Muted Advent Candles. 

Sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"

The song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" set the tone for Advent as we wait for the coming of Jesus. As you sing each verse, notice how the tone of the song changes, where the end of the song celebrates Emmanuel opening up his heavenly home to us. Ask yourself these questions: 

How does the call to rejoice feel different to you in each week of Advent? How does it feel to rejoice, no matter what is going on in your life right now?

First week of Advent

Week one of Advent focuses on hope. Light one purple candle, called the prophecy candle, which symbolizes the prophets who told of Jesus's coming with anticipation. 

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Make an Advent Banner

Follow the instructions below to make a beautiful banner for Advent. 

Supplies needed: 

Instructions:

  1. Cut the cotton canvas to be 7 inches wide and 2 yards long (if you want to hem it, give yourself an extra inch on all sides).
  2. Cut out a triangle from each end to make your banner. Hem with iron-on tape (optional).
  3. Use the template to cut out the letters from your felt; alternatively, freehand trace 3-inch-tall letters onto the felt instead. Use the felt glue to glue your letters onto the banner. To make sure it’s centered, glue the center letters first (the center is between the O and M on the second come) and then move out to either side.
  4. Hand the banner in a special place in your home! 

*If arts and crafts isn't your thing, you can purchase our Emmanuel Banners here! 

Reach out to a loved one

Advent is a beautiful time to reach out to a friend or loved one who may be going through a difficult season of life. Listen, offer support and give them a hug! Help them feel seen and heard, and reassure them that they are not alone. 

Second week of Advent

The second week of Advent focuses on peace. Light two of the purple candles - The second candle is known as the Bethlehem candle, which is a symbol for the Holy Family's experience in Bethlehem. 

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Throw a baby shower for Mary

This is a fun way to get your people together to celebrate Mary during the Advent season! Ask your guests to bring small gift donations for a pregnancy center in your area, in honor of Mary and her baby. Click here to download Mary's Baby Shower printables. 

Create a Virgin (Mary) Mom-osa Bar

Simple and delicious beverage to serve your guests!

Ingredients: 

  • Sparkling lemonade
  • Orange juice
  • Fresh fruit (strawberries preferred) 

Instructions:

  1. Combine the sparkling lemonade and orange juice into a pitcher or large serving glass
  2. Cut up fresh strawberries and add to the beverage
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Serve Mini Food

A few fun ideas include: Mini pizzas, pancakes and waffles, quiche, pigs in a blanket. 

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Decorate swaddle blankets

Decorate a swaddle blanket for your little one, a loved one's little (baby shower gift!), or donate to a pregnancy center. 

Supplies needed:

Instructions:

  1. Make the stamps by cutting your desired shapes from the craft foam, using the printed template and adhering to small pieces of cardboard so you can easily use the stamp.

  2. Place large cardboard pieces under the blank to avoid stains
  3. Apply fabric paint to the stamps with foam brushes. Decorate the swaddle blankets using the stamp
  4. Hand the finished blanket on a clothesline to dry

Find a quiet space for prayer

Locate a quiet place (either inside or outside of your home) that can be used for prayer. You can lead your guests in a group prayer, so hand out pens/paper and ask guests to write down their prayers or intentions. Ask your guests to leave all distractions outside of the room.

Third week of Advent

The third week of Advent focuses on joy. This week, light two purple candles and the pink candle. The pink candle is known as the Shepherd's candle, which is a symbol for the joy of meeting the Christ child. 

Go to confession

Prepare your heart for Jesus. St. John the Baptist encourages us to prepare for the Lord by repenting and changing our lives. 

Wear pink

Wear pink to celebrate the coming of Christ child. 

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Make a Christmas Bell Garland

Traditionally, bells are run at churches at midnight on Christmas Eve to announce the joy of the Lord. Prepare in anticipation by making a bell garland. Hang the garland in a special spot in your home. 

Supplies needed: 

Instructions:

  1. Every twelve inches along your ribbon or jute, tie on a bell with a knot.

  2. Intertwine your bell garland with greenery on your mantel, above a kitchen window, or along a staircase. 

Visit a nursing home

Clear some time on your calendar and visit a nursing home. Ask to spend time with any resident(s) who do not have visitors or family that live nearby. Bring an activity to do or think of some questions/conversation starters to create a meaningful conversation. Offer to pray with the resident.

Fourth week of Advent

The fourth week of Advent focuses on love. Light all four candles. The final purple candle is known as the Angel's candle, which is a symbol of God's endless love. He sent angels four different times to prepare us for Jesus. 

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Make a Christmas tree angel

Create a beautiful, DIY angel topper for your tree. 

Supplies needed:

Instructions:

  1. Start by painting the angel’s face on the spun cotton ball. Keep the face simple. You can paint on the hair or attach wool to the head. Cut off the top of your paper-mache cone so that it is flat and a good base for your spun cotton ball head. Hot-glue the ball onto the top and let cool. Then glue on a felt sheet to the cone as the dress. Wrap your pipe cleaner around the back of the cone where the shoulders might be, and hot-glue in place to create two arms.
  2. Wrap felting wool or scraps of felt sheet around the torso to create a shirt and around the pipe cleaner arms to create sleeves. We made little mittens to cover the ends of the arms. Use felt glue to glue on the felt pom-poms on the dress.
  3. Place on top of your Christmas tree

The goal of this blog post is to help prepare your hearts for Advent! If this is your first time celebrating the Advent season, find one idea that speaks to you, and try it - Even if you make it a point to light your Advent candles each week, that is an amazing start. These ideas are here to help inspire you, not create extra stress or work in your life. 

However you celebrate this season, be sure to snap, post and tag us on Instagram @beaheartdesign so we can feature on our page! 

 

Photo by Hannah Hoggatt

Looking for inspiration on how to celebrate the liturgical seasons and feast days? 

Living The Seasons: Simple Ways To Celebrate The Beauty Of Your Faith Throughout The Year is a full-color guide to creatively celebrate our faith. Each page is filled with beautiful inspiration with effortless directions to celebrate feast days, holy days and seasons within the Church. This will be your resource for living liturgically! Now available to order on our website

Shop our Advent Collection below! 

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