Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” In modern Christianity, the Advent season begins four Sundays before Christmas. The focus of the season is both the celebration of Jesus in His first advent (coming) AND the anticipation of His return as King in His second advent (coming). So it is both marking a historical event AND celebrating a truth about God (Jesus is the way in which creation might be reconciled to God).
Churches and families often use an advent wreath to aid in the celebration of the Advent season. The wreath includes five candles, one for each Sunday leading to Christmas and a fifth candle for Christmas day. Each candle has a different meaning. The four candles around the wreath are usually tapers which are occasionally all purple, but most often there are three purple and one pink candles. (Purple symbolizes repentance and pink symbolizes joy.) The fifth candle is placed in the center of the wreath, and is usually a large white pillar candle. Each Sunday a successive candle is lit, customarily accompanied by scripture relating to the meaning of the candle. Various religious traditions assign different representations to each candle.
In our Advent themed Bible studies (which will begin next week) we’ll look at the meaning of each week’s candle. Our outline will be as follows:
Week 1 - Hope
Week 2 - Love
Week 3 - Joy
Week 4 - Peace
Christmas Day - Jesus
See you next week!