Purple: While the rest of the U.S. spends December drowning in glittery green and red, the color purple is the primary color of Advent. Why purple? Purple is symbolic of repentance for sins, and is also a deep color that symbolizes spiritual darkness outside the light of Christ. The sheer contrast in the color schemes could be an opportunity to discuss how faith in Christ changes one’s focus from the more secular celebration of the holidays to the spiritual meaning behind Christmas. Have a few purple decorations in your home, along with a nativity scene. Read from the Old Testament and imagine together what it must have been like to live in the centuries before Christ's birth. Pray for those who currently do not know Christ. Wait for Christmas Day to draw near to bring out the sparkling gold, red, and green decorations.

Advent Wreath: Probably one of the most well-known symbols of Advent is the Advent wreath. This is basically a simple, evergreen wreath surrounding four candles. Many craft stores have ready-made ones now, or you can make one as a family (just be sure to place the candles in sturdy candle-holders). Three candles are the traditional purple, and one is rose-colored. Some families also place a white candle in the center of the wreath for the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany (Dec. 25th - Jan. 6th).

The four candles represent the four Sundays before Christmas day. Before dinner each Sunday, help a child light the new, corresponding candle as well as all the candles representing Sundays already passed. Say a prayer as you light the candles thanking God for the hope found in His Son, the light of the world.

Light the rose-colored candle on the third Sunday (not the fourth!). The “pink Sunday” symbolizes a break in the darkness, and a time of joy as Christ’s birthday gets closer. The pink candle is a good benchmark for setting up your Christmas decorations if you don’t want to wait until the night before Christmas to do so. On Christmas day, light all four candles, along with the fifth, white candle which symbolizes Christ’s official arrival and the beginning of the end to earthly darkness.

You may want to read Scripture with the lighting of each candle. Here are some suggested readings:.

1st Sunday: Isaiah 63:16-17, Isaiah 63:19; Psalms 80:2-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37

2nd Sunday: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalms 85:9-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

3rd Sunday (rose): Isaiah 61; Luke 1:46-54; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-28

4th Sunday: Malachi 3:1-24; Psalms 25:4-14; Luke 1:57-66

Christmas Day (white): Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalms 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14