Advent means “coming” or “arrival”.
The Advent season is seen as a time not only for waiting and celebrating the coming Christmas season, but to also anticipate and hope for the return of the Messiah.
Starting on the fourth Sunday before December 25th, Advent encompasses four weeks of preparation and waiting to celebrate the nativity and birth of the baby Jesus.
The contemporary symbol of the Advent season is the Advent wreath. The wreath is a ring of evergreen garland containing four candles, one for each week of Advent, and often times a fifth, center candle representing Jesus. A new candle is lit each week and corresponds to one of four themes: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, or celebrate Advent or not, you can draw inspiration from the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy, and love as you mail gifts and handwritten notes to friends and family this holiday season.
Keep reading for some great writing prompts. Each idea centers on one of the themes of Advent and is inspired by a famous quote.
Hope during Advent is represented by the Prophecy candle. Old Testament biblical writings of the prophets foretell of a coming king and messiah.
This week is a celebration of the expectation or hope for the coming birth of Jesus, which we now celebrate on Christmas Day. As the year comes to a close, hope for the coming new year, and all that it may hold, is also another common reason to celebrate.
Here are some famous quotes to inspire hope in your Christmas cards:
1. “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality” – Jonas Salk. Encourage someone’s dream.
2. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – Desmond Tutu. Share inspiration with someone who is struggling with something you’ve gone through before.
3. “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return” – Maya Angelou. Share a funny story and make someone laugh.
4. “All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them” – Magic Johnson. Bring hope to a friend by showing you believe in them.
5. “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday” – John Wayne. We all make mistakes. Share a lesson you’ve learned that may help someone else.
Peace during Advent is represented by the Angel’s candle.
Angels triumphantly announced the birth of Jesus by shouting “…peace on earth, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:14.
For many, Christmas is a time when life moves at a slower pace. Time is allowed for reflection and rest. For others, the holiday season brings even more chaos to an already hectic schedule.
Which are you?
Does someone in your family, a friend, or a co-worker come to mind?
Here are some famous quotes to help instill peace this Christmas:
6. “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means” – Ronald Reagan. Make amends, today. Bring peace to a current conflict and enjoy a more peaceful holiday season.
7. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace” – Jimi Hendrix. To experience peace this Christmas, substitute love for control over a family member or co-worker.
8. “Peace begins with a smile” – Mother Teresa. Send a message that will evoke a smile in a handwritten note.
9. “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart” – Francis of Assisi. Speak peace and feel peace. Then you’ll be ready to write peace.
10. “If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having” – Henry Miller. Sometimes a thoughtful handwritten note is gift enough.
Joy during Advent is represented by the Shepherd’s candle.
The shepherds in the field were filled with joy upon hearing of the birth of Jesus. Today, we share in their joy as we eagerly anticipate the the celebration of Jesus’s birth on Christmas Day.
Joy is expressed in many ways: delight, pleasure, jubilation, happiness, exhilaration, and bliss to name a few.
Here are some famous quotes to help you express joy in your handwritten notes:
11. “I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun” – Charles R. Swindoll. Tell a friend how much you appreciate the joy they bring to your life.
12. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort” – Franklin D. Roosevelt. Congratulate someone on a recent achievement and share in their joy.
13. “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again” – Charles Dickens. Who have you not seen or spoken to in a long time that needs to hear from you?
14. “To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth” – Pearl S. Buck. Mostly we hate work, right? Who at your work could use a word of joy?
15. “Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Mail a handwritten “thank you” and you’ll both feel better.
Love during Advent is represented by the Bethlehem candle, also referred to as the Manger candle.
God showed love for his creation by sending his son. Jesus expressed his love for humankind by heeding his Father’s request. We continue to celebrate this love as we near the celebration of the virgin birth in a lowly manger on Christmas Day.
Use the famous quotes below to help you share love this Christmas season:
16. “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within” – James A. Baldwin. Be vulnerable and free yourself to share a handwritten note of love.
17. “Love knows not distance; it hath no continent; its eyes are for the stars” – Gilbert Parker. Who is far away that you can bring close with a handwritten note?
18. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Go ahead. Let that burden go and let someone know that you still love them.
19. “Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited” – Duke Ellington. Who needs to know that you not only like them, but you love them?
20. “Love is being stupid together” – Paul Valery. Who in your life is it okay to be stupid around? Let them know how much you appreciate it.
If you haven’t done so yet, get to writing. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach out to family, friends, and co-workers to lift their spirits.
Share joy, hope, peace, and love in a handwritten note this holiday season and you’re sure to receive the like in return.