Advent is taken from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” and is considered to be the beginning of our Church Year. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is Sunday 3rd December this year, and ends on Christmas Eve (24th December). For most Christians, the season is one of anticipation and hope. The most common themes used for the four weeks of Advent are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Traditionally the primary colour of Advent is purple or violet, which reflects the fasting and waiting that forms part of the build-up to Christmas. It is also the connection between the birth and death of Jesus (a Lenten connection). On the third Sunday of Advent the colour changes to pink or rose in anticipation of the end of fasting and the start of rejoicing for the birth of the Saviour (this Sunday is sometimes celebrated as Gaudete Sunday meaning “rejoice.”)
Set up a Prayer Space in your classroom or parish centre. You can do this by covering a small table with a purple/violet cloth and getting the children to make an Advent Wreath with some foliage from evergreen trees and holly trees in the garden. You will also need one white candle, one pink candle, and three purple candles. If you can’t find coloured candles, simply use coloured ribbons around white candles instead. At the beginning of each week during Advent take some time to light the appropriate candle in your Advent Wreath and use the prayers in this resource book to bring the children together in prayer. Invite the children to discuss what each candle/theme means, particularly what it means to each one of them personally. The resource book also includes our Advent activity calendar for 2017 and our Christmas colouring competition!