As we begin the advent season I think it is a good time to pause and reflect on what it is and why we celebrate it. As a person of the 21st century waiting is not something that we practice or are good at. We want instant gratification and if an electronic device takes it’s time loading, we get agitated and upset. We work, play, and even relax at a hurried pace. We want it and we want it now. So we are losing the ability to enjoy and really celebrate the season of Advent—the time that has been set aside so that we can prepare for the coming of the Lord.
Advent is a season of waiting, longing, promise, and preparation. The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. In some churches, four purple candles, one for each week in Advent, are used with one larger white candle in the middle as the Christ candle. Other churches prefer three purple or blue candles with one candle being rose or pink, to represent joy.
While the Advent wreath with its four candles did bring light to churches, it was not to illuminate the interior as much as to symbolize the coming of Christ. The Advent wreath began in the time of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther.
During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Others consider the lighting of the first candle to symbolize expectation, while the second symbolizes hope, the third joy and the fourth purity. The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day reminding Christians that Jesus is the light of the world. The order and exact wording vary among churches, but the wreath continually reminds us of whom we are called to be as followers of Jesus. Advent is a great time to re evaluate our faith journey and how we are living for Christ. My daily prayer is that through this season you may draw closer to God and his will for your life. May we journey through advent together. May God show us the path to a prayerful season.
In Christ’ Love