FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK
Advent is the new year of the Christian Church and the church season that leads to Christmas Day.
Advent is the time when Christians remember that Jesus came into the world in Palestine 2000 years ago and that Jesus also promised one day to return in all His glory.
Clergy typically wear royal purple or royal blue vestments during Advent. Many churches also include an Advent Wreath (sometimes called an Advent ring or crown) in their Advent services.
The Advent Wreath is the widely recognized symbol of Advent.
The wreath is made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life. Four candles stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. In the center of the circle is a fifth candle (traditionally white), the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas Eve.
Why is the Advent Wreath so special to Christians?
The circle of the wreath reminds Christians of God, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that Christians have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life.
Candles on the Advent Wreath
Advent worship is like a journey through the Christmas story. Christians use the Advent candles to celebrate this period with one lit every Sunday of Advent, so that during the last week before Christmas all four candles are lit. The last central candle (which represents Christ), is lit on Christmas Eve.
What do the Advent Candles stand for?
Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son, Jesus.
The four traditional advent themes for the four Advent Sundays are:
- God's People – The Candle of Hope
Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
- The Old Testament Prophets – The Candle of Peace
Peace is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at this candle we celebrate the peace we find in Jesus Christ.
- John the Baptist – The Candle of Love
Love is like a candle shining in a dark place. As we look as the light of this candle we celebrate the love we have in Christ.
- Mary the Mother of Jesus – The Candle of Joy
Joy is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at this candle we celebrate the joy we find in Jesus Christ.
The fifth candle represents the birth of Christ. The flame of this candle reminds us that He is the light of the world and that if we follow Him, we will never walk in darkness, but will have the true light of life.
As we enter the season of Advent may the light and love of God fill our hearts.