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Before Christmas, There Is Advent

Everyone prepares for Christmas in different ways.

Families do their shopping, and their decorating, and their visiting according to their own special customs and traditions.

Christians also observe the time before Christmas in a special way. It's a period known as Advent, which means "the coming" of Christ.

The time is used to prepare believers for the pending celebration. Special church services may be held, and an Advent candle lit each Sunday.

The Advent candle originated in Scandinavia and Germany, and had 24 different sections on it. It would be lit on Dec. 1, and allowed to burn a little more each day until Christmas Eve.

A favorite Christmas item for many children is the Advent calendar, which helps count down the last 24 days before Christmas.

Each calendar has 24 doors, and a new one is opened every day leading up to Christmas. Sometimes children will find small treats behind the doors, or perhaps Bible verses or pictures.

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