When I was a child, I felt so honored to be the person who walks down the aisle to light the Advent candles during the church service. I still have a fondness for the Advent wreath, and I have one at home. Advent is the season of waiting before Christmas. It reminds us to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus — and reminds us to look forward to Jesus' coming again. And it helps me keep the season in perspective. Yes, some days will be hectic, and yes, I still spend a lot of time trying to find gifts. But the Advent wreath reminds me to slow down and focus on Jesus.
In our family, no present is opened on Christmas morning until my dad reads the account of Jesus' birth from the second chapter of Luke. He usually follows this by a prayer. I think my nieces and nephews may forget pretty quickly as the presents are opened, but I still think it's a good beginning to the festivities of Christmas.