What Is Advent?

What is Advent


I grew up in Baptist churches that actually did celebrate Advent! We did not go as in depth as many liturgical churches do, but I have fond memories of a different family lighting the Advent candle for that particular week in church and sharing a short devotional or Scripture to go along with the passage for that week. I remember the purple candles, with one pink, and one white in the middle to be lit on Christmas Day. I loved Advent before I even know all that it entailed.

Now that I’m learning even more about this season of waiting, I’ve come to love it even more. Can different denominations celebrate Advent? Is this just a Catholic tradition? This Baptist girl loves celebrating Advent. I love the focus on waiting on God. I love the reminder that Jesus is the true hope of the world, the LIGHT of the world. I love the candles, I love it all.


Advent doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, for me, the more simple, the more meaningful it becomes. Advent doesn’t have to be Pinterest perfect. Light a candle each night at dinner and read a verse from one of the books below. Read one of the books below at bedtime. Pray each day in December and thank God for the gift of His son. There are many Advent traditions, but we aren’t bound by those traditions. Just making this time of year special, with a focus on Jesus, is just what we need sometimes!

What is Advent?

Advent is a 4-week period of time around the birth of Jesus that Christians celebrate. It traditionally starts 4 Sundays before Christmas Day. In the Christian Church, Christmas is celebrated starting on Christmas Eve and going forward 12 days, ending on January 6th, which is called Epiphany. The Advent Season leads us into the Christmas season, a preparation of our hearts, for celebrating the birth of our Savior. For Catholics, this Advent season is also the beginning of their Church-year calendar as well.

The word “advent” actually comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming” or “visit.”

The Advent Season is a season of waiting. We are reminded, like our forefathers of the Old Testament, that we are desperate for a Savior. And, while Advent is a time of remembering it is also a time of waiting for the second coming of our Savior! We wait with anticipation!

Advent Traditions

There are many traditions that have held strong for many years in the Christian Church. Many assume that if you celebrate Advent you are Catholic or Lutheran. While these denominations do have more tradition steeped into their Christian year celebrations, many Protestants also celebrate Advent right along with brothers and sisters from other Christian denominations.

1. Colors – I have seen several variations of the colors of Advent over the years. Mostly, you should know that the colors of Advent are NOT red and green! Generally, we will see purple and pink candles for our Advent celebrations. The 3 purple candles lit the first 3 Sundays in Advent represent our repentance, seriousness and period of waiting before the birth of our Savior. It can also represent royalty and/or fasting. The pink candle, that comes the Sunday before Christmas day, reminds us of the coming joy! Then, on Christmas Day the white candle representing Christ is lit! (I will note here that different traditions light different colors on different weeks.) 

2. Wreaths with Candles – The Advent wreath is a wreath of evergreen (though many are being made of other things now a days too!) with a place for 4 candles around the circular wreath and one candle in the center. I love Advent wreaths!! {Stay tuned, I have a post FULL of Advent wreaths coming up next week!!} Traditionally, each Sunday leading up to Christmas a purple candle is lit, with pink being the third Sunday of Advent, representing JOY. Then, on Christmas Day, the white candle in the center is lit in celebration of the arrival of Christ. Traditionally, each week (and each candle) has a theme. The 1st of the 4 Sundays before Christmas is the theme of HOPE or EXPECTATION. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th vary from church to church, but many use the themes of LOVE, JOY and PEACE. Some churches even focus on different characters from the Christmas story on these various week, one week on the Magi, one week on the shepherds or angels, etc. Recommended Resources:  Advent Candle Set, “Journey to Bethlehem” Advent Wreath , Nativity Scene Advent Candle Holder,

3. Light – candles and light have become a very symbolic part of the Advent Season. This time of waiting in the darkness was over 400 years worth between the Old Testament times and Jesus birth. This has been called the period of darkness. Thus, the importance of light during this time in the years after Jesus birth. I love candles being lit, each year at our Christmas eve service we all hold candles and usually sing Silent Night or another Christmas carol. I cry every year. I know what it’s like for Jesus to enter in to our own darkness and bring light into our hearts. I have seen how Jesus, Light of the World, can change a heart forever. That is one of the main reasons I put together a different verse of LIGHT for us to read and pray each day in Advent! Light has powerful meaning in the life of believers. Recommended Resources:  100% Beeswax Candles – Set of 4 – 8″ Advent Columns

4. Advent Calendars or The Jesse Tree – Our family has used the Jesse Tree for many years. I love this little walk from the beginning of time, with a daily reading each day, that goes from creation all the way to Jesus. Each day you read a little bit more of the story. The Advent Calendars that you see today are widely used by the religious and not-religious alike. This can be a fun way to count down the days til Christmas, with children opening a little door to find a piece of chocolate waiting for them each morning. Or even a lego with the Lego Advent Calendar! Recommended Resources:  LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar , LEGO Friends Advent Calendar , LEGO City Advent Calendar , Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar with 24 Magnetic Figures

5. Advent Music – traditionally, Advent is a wonderful time of singing Christmas carols in the church!! There are some liturgical churches that do not sing the joyous songs of Christ’s birth until we reach the 25th. There are many traditional Advent carols that are sung during this time period: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus; Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People; Lift Up Your Heads Ye Mighty Gates; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and more. Of course, we are all familiar with the Christmas carols sung each year, but there are some songs that are specific to the waiting period before Christ is born. These are classified as Advent carols as opposed to the Christmas carols we are more familiar with. Recommended Resources:  Advent at Ephesus, Advent Songs, Christmas Star: Carols for the Christmas Season, Christmas Bundle, Christmas Offerings, The Christmas Sessions

Praying the Scriptures Through Advent

Jesus, Light of the World: Praying the Scriptures Through Advent – BRAND NEW from His Mercy is New. 31 Days and 31 Scriptures of LIGHT, helping us to focus our hearts and thoughts on Jesus, Light of the World, this advent season!

Praying the Scriptures Through Advent

More Advent Reading

I love reading books that help me to focus on waiting for Christ during this season. I love setting aside my regular devotional readings and picking up books during December that bring my thoughts to my desperate need for Jesus and the light that He brought into the world. Here are some of my favorites:

God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas – These stirring words are among forty devotions that guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Advent and Christmas, from waiting and mystery to redemption, incarnation, and joy. Supplemented by an informative introduction, short excerpts from Bonhoeffer’s letters, and passages from his Christmas sermons, these daily devotions are timeless and moving reminders of the true gift of Christmas.

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas – Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there’s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season. Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us – not only during Advent, but every day. Whether dipped into at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase “holiday preparations” new depth and meaning.

Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture and Prayers together with Nouwen’s Own Words – The inspiring words of Henri J. M. Nouwen guide the faithful on a spiritual journey through the Advent and Christmas season in this book of waiting, hope, anticipation, and celebration. Each day of the Advent season (28 in all, to accommodate the varying number of days in the season) and each day of Christmas (12 in all, ending with Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist) contain a pertinent excerpt from the writings of Father Nouwen, a related quotation from Scripture, a prayer for the day, and a suggested activity that offers a concrete response to mark the season.

The Jesse Tree – Geraldine McCaughrean’s fresh retellings of familiar Bible events and Bee Willey’s whimsical and striking illustrations create a rich and contemporary tale that will captivate readers who know and love these stories as well as readers who are discovering them for the first time. As Mr. Butterfield carves a Jesse Tree in a dusty old church, a curious young boy distracts him by asking about the various symbols on the tree. Against his inclination, thegruff old man finds himself retelling the familiar biblical tales that trace the family tree of Christ, from the Garden of Eden to Jesus’ birth. Under the carpenter’s skilled hands, the Jesse Tree grows—and an unlikely friendship begins to take root as well.

The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child at Christmas – This is the book my MIL gave us that we have used for years, she used it with my husband and siblings when they were little! This book offers 25 devotions for each day from December 1st to December 25th, Christmas Day… the day Christians celebrate that God’s purpose was finally revealed in the coming of the savior, Jesus Christ.  Each devotion traces the heritage of Jesus through the stories and prophecies of the Old Testament.

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas – One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, released this book LAST Advent, it is fabulous, of course. Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for. I also shared a free printable schedule for reading this advent book alongside the Jesus Storybook Bible last year. Go here to print off a copy for yourself.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas – Now Ann Voskamp has a CHILDREN’s advent book to complement the book she released last year for adults. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme.

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent – These stories by Arnold Ytreeide will draw you in and you will want to keep reading and reading. I love these books! In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.

Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent – We love reading this story during Advent as a family! Bartholomew’s Passage is an engaging story that guides families through the Advent season. Young Bartholomew’s adventures start when Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, continue through his enslavement to a tyrannical master and his escape with his new friend Nathan, and end with a reunion with his family in Bethlehem. Along the way Bartholomew makes a new friend, a young boy named Jotham!

Well, friends, I feel I have just barely scratched the surface here! There are so many wonderful and beautiful Advent resources! I hope you and your family can find what you need to set your eyes on Jesus this Advent season. Be blessed!

31 Scriptures to Pray for Your Family

So many of you have blessed me by joining in on this series to Pray the Scriptures for our Families! I decided to create a PDF file that you could print, put in a pretty notebook, give as a gift, or pray ANY month…not just October!! Praying for your family will bless your heart as much as your family. AND praying the Scriptures is just an awesome way to pray in alignment with God’s will by speaking His very words right back to Him. To see all my Praying the Scripture resources, please click here.

This file has 1 page per day with a Scripture, a prayer and journaling lines for you to personalize your prayers if you wish! I also included the calendar with the daily Scriptures on it. There are sample pages for you to look at on this shop link.

This small prayer journal is $2.99.

Praying the Scriptures for Your Family COVER


Thank you so much for your support of my blog and these resources. I am humbled and thrilled that so many of you want to pray the Scriptures. The Lord has taken me on quite the journey and it has been transformational in my own life. I pray the same blessings for you, friends!


Happy November!

I think if I had to choose, October, November or December would be my favorite months of the year. So, we are right in my very favorite part of the year right now!!

I wanted to remind you to join me in Praying Scriptures of Thanksgiving starting TODAY! It’s not too late to join us, if you need to print off your FREE November calendar of verses, go here!

I will not have blog posts going up daily for these verses, but I would LOVE for you to join me on Instagram (and other social media, but primarily Instagram) with the hashtag #prayingthescriptures 

Praying Scriptures of Thanksgiving

More Praying the Scriptures Resources

Praying the Scriptures for Your Family COVER


Praying the Scriptures Through Advent


Praying Hebrews 12:1-2 For Your Family

I’m so thankful you joined us for this amazing series! So many praying for their families! What a tremendous blessing!

**NEW! If you would like a printable PDF file of these verses, with journaling lines, so that you can keep praying the Scriptures for your family, click here: 31 Scriptures to Pray for Your Family.

Please click here to read all 31 Scriptures to Pray for Your Family.

Praying the Scriptures For Your Family

Today’s Scripture To Pray For Your Family

Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. 

Prayer: Oh Lord Jesus, we praise You for the example we have in Jesus Christ, Your Son. Thank You that we are surrounded by this body of believers and this great cloud of witnesses! Help us, Father, to lay aside everything that weighs us down, and the sin that so easily entangles us. Help us to run with perseverance the race that You’ve marked out for us. Strengthen us to fix our eyes on You and You alone, the author and perfecter of our faith. Thank You for hearing our prayer.


Friends, I cannot thank you enough for sharing in this 31 day journey with me! I hope, more than anything, that you have been inspired to dig into the Word of God and find MEANINGFUL verses to pray for YOUR family! I hope you have been encouraged and comforted by the prayers we have prayed for our families. I hope your prayer life has been strengthened, as mine always is when I pray the Scriptures! Be blessed!!

I hope you will consider joining me as we pray the Scriptures through ADVENT as well! 

Click here to read more:

Jesus: Light of the World, Praying the Scriptures through Advent


More Praying Scripture Links & Books

Praying 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 For Your Family

I’m so thankful that you decided to join me for this 31 Day series of Praying the Scriptures for Your Family! What a blessing YOUR FAMILY will receive through your prayers! The peace we gain through prayer {Philippians 4:6-7} is blessing enough, but in praying the very Words of God over your family, the blessings gained are more than we will ever know about on this side of heaven!

**NEW! If you would like a printable PDF file of these verses, with journaling lines, so that you can keep praying the Scriptures for your family, click here: 31 Scriptures to Pray for Your Family.

As you start this journey of praying the Scriptures, I hope you will take a few minutes (less than 10) to listen to this audio encouragement where I share 5 Ways to Pray the Scriptures.

Please click here to read all 31 Scriptures to Pray for Your Family.

Praying the Scriptures For Your Family

Today’s Scripture To Pray For Your Family

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13: “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

Prayer: If there are loved ones that don’t know You, Father, direct our path to them. Lord, I lift up my family before you and ask that you make us increase and abound in love for one another and to all around us, just as our love for you grows, establish our hearts as blameless in holiness. We cannot wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


More Praying Scripture Links & Books