My family lived in Germany for three years while I was young. Since then we have felt that it was our prerogative to pick and choose various German traditions to adopt. One of those traditions is celebrating advent. You may have heard President Uchtdorf speak of it in the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. On the four Sundays before Christmas, we sit around our wreath. We light one candle the first Sunday, two the next, three the next, and all four candles on the Sabbath before Christmas. There is a short rhyme we like to repeat. Roughly translated it goes:
Advent, advent, a little candle burns
First one, then two, then three, then four
Then comes the Christ-child to your door
We enjoy Christmas goodies, and sometimes sing carols. I always enjoyed those quiet moments watching the little candles flicker. Thinking about the baby Jesus, born on some dark night in a stable. What an amazing young woman Mary had to have been to endure that experience. But what a heavenly peace must have surrounded them in the miracle of bringing forth that child.
I love using candles to celebrate the holidays. Watching candles in the dark transports me to another time. I feel closer to that baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. I forget the noisy world that distracts me when the lights are all turned on.
Although I am not a German, I'd like to invite all Americans (that means you) to adopt their celebration of advent. It's a wonderful way to enjoy spending more time in our holiday season contemplating the birth of the Savior. And I'm sure the Germans won't mind.