"A Savior is Born," christmas.mormon.org
An advent is "a coming into place, view, or being; arrival" (source). For Christians, Advent is the time before Christmas, when we remember and prepare our hearts and homes for the birth of Christ.
I grew up doing Advent calendars counting down to Christmas Day, lightning Advent candles each week, and hearing Advent sermons in church.
Since my conversion, since being a Christian has started to mean something to me, Christmas has become more of a special and holy time for me. As a preteen/teen, I didn't really care about Christmas, honestly. We decorated and got happy for no reason, we had to spend time together (usually fighting), and more miserable things? Why would I like that? Why would anyone like that?
"He is the Gift," mormon.org, 2014
Last year, mormon.org released a video entitled "He is the Gift" (above). I attended a Christmas missionary event at my friend's ward (congregation) and watched the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional. I realized just how monumental and significant this event was, this birth. This time of celebration became more important and holy to me. I began to think about what this season means, what the birth of this little guy really shows us. Just like everything Heavenly Father does, it's hope. It's peace. It's joy. It's love. That's what it's all about.
Traditionally, Advent was celebrated by families or churches with an Advent wreath, holding five candles - four purple and one white. The purple are lit, one each Sunday, for four weeks preceding Christmas. And the final white candle is lit on Christmas Day (or Eve) to signify the birth of Christ. Each candle, and each week of Advent, has a theme. They are, in order: hope, peace, joy, and love.
The Christmas season has taken a special importance in my heart this year, even more than last year. I'm amazed that Heavenly Father would send His Beloved Son, cold and alone, and watch Him to the point of His tremendous suffering for me. I'm so grateful that my God choose to become human like me - with this not perfect body that aches and gets hungry, with this flesh that's wants unholy things, in this world that is nothing close to His heavenly home. It's amazing, to me, to think of my Savior, the Lord, the King of Kings, a little squirming baby, unable to walk or talk or anything. Cold and crying, because He was human like us. To think of His mother, this young girl who was an amazing servant for God, to accept this calling, to mother our Christ. Being a mother is scary enough, but to mother this one? Unimaginable.
So this season, in this time of Advent, when we wait for our Christchild, I've decided to embark on a special study pattern, to study what prophets ancient and modern have taught about these four things that Christ brought to our world when He was born - hope, peace, joy, and love.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."