Celebrating with Advent

     It's finally the Christmas season! This is the time I look forward to each year. It's not the presents that I look forward to, it's the family time. Seriously, it's the fact that though most of the country makes Christmas out to be a holiday of gifts, the season is truly about Christ coming to earth. Even amongst all this commercialism, there are some people who are able to celebrate Christmas how it should be celebrated, and I love that!
     One of the ways my family makes the Christmas season about Christ is we celebrate advent. Starting December 1st, every night (well, we try to do it every night) we light an advent candle that either is the Prophecy (hope) candle, Bethlehem (love) candle, Shepherd's (joy) candle, and Angel (peace) candle. We add on a new candle to our lighting each Sunday as we lead up to the lighting of the Jesus candle on Christmas morning.
      After lighting the candle and talking about the name of the candle, we sit down and read a selected reading in the Bible. The reading usually corresponds with the last candle we light. Then we talk about some prayer requests that we have and then take turns praying about them.
      Once we have done this my sister plays Christmas carols on the piano (yes, sometimes I attempt to play them too but she tends to always sound much better than me). The carols could be Silent Night, Frosty the Snowman, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Carols of the Bells (a very hard song to sing), Rockn' Around the Christmas Tree (my mom's favorite) or even The Twelve Days of Christmas. We always have tons of fun singing!
     When we have had our fill on praising the Lord and having a joyful time, we pick out a Christmas story book to read. I am 15 years old and my sister is 18, we have been doing this every since I can remember and it has never gotten old. No matter how old I get I think I'll always enjoy the cozy time I have listening to my mom or dad read a book while I sip steamy gingerbread tea or Christmas creamer'd coffee.
      We read the same books every year yet my family always laughs at the same things in each book. We sing the same songs each year, yet we never get sick of it, it brings us just as much joy as the night before. This time of advent helps me to celebrate Christmas just as I think God would like it to be celebrated, with joy towards Him and praise towards Him for sending His Son to earth and to show this joy surrounded with the family He has blessed me with.