Word from the Pastor
Advent is a special liturgical season for the preparation of the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The word Advent is derived from the Latin adventus, which means coming. Advent tells us the story of just why Christ took on flesh and entered into human history. His Incarnation is the foreshadowing of His Second Coming represents His great love for all of mankind. Preparing us for His birth is also an indication of how we should also be preparing for His Second Coming as well as learning to accept His love on a daily basis.
Christians typically celebrate the season by the ceremonial lighting of the Advent candles located on a wreath in conjunction with the reading of scripture. As the candles are lit the Christmas story is told starting from the reading of Isaiah to it culmination in the second chapter of Luke. The Old Testament, in particular the Book of Isaiah, points to the promise and coming of a non- militaristic savior. “For us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:16
The wreath used in the season of Advent is always in the shape of a circle to represent God’s eternity, His unending nature. The evergreens symbolize life and in conjunction with the shape of the wreath remind us of invitation offered to all of us to enter eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. We Christians have will have eternal life once we have accepted the invitation of Jesus Christ and chose to follow in His ways.
Nestled in the wreath of evergreens are five candles, each representing a significant aspect of the Christmas story. The first three candles are purple or blue to represent preparation, the fourth candle pink to represent joy. When the pink candle is lit on the third Sunday in Advent, the Church calls that Sunday latere Sunday, which means to rejoice. The last candle is the white candle in the middle of the wreath which represents Christ. Each candle also has an individual meaning.
- The candle lit on the first Sunday is known as the candle of prophecy and hope.
- The candle lit on the second Sunday is known as the candle of proclamation, Bethlehem, and the angels who announced the birth of Christ.
- The candle lit on the third Sunday is known as the candle of anticipation because of the hundreds of years waiting for the coming of a savior and king. It also represents the joy the lowly shepherds who experience the joyous news of Christ’s birth.
- The candle lit on the forth Sunday is known as the candle of expectation as Mary felt Emmanuel, God with us, pressing against her womb.
- On Christmas Eve, one last candle is lit, the white candle. Often the biggest of the five candles, it is usually centered in the middle of the wreath this Christ candle marks the culmination of the coming of a promised savior. Christians celebrate the occasion with family prayer, acknowledging the Light of Christ not only in the world, but also in our hearts. On Christmas Eve, as the last candle is lit, remember the words of scripture, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Although the Advent Wreath is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the Advent season, it is by no means the only way to celebrate. Another fun way to bring honor to Advent is to make the holiday season joyous by creating a progressive nativity. Start with just the stable. Each week after the start of Advent add other figures until the Christ child is placed in the manger on Christmas Eve. You can also choose to create your own special celebrations to make you aware of the coming of Christ into the world.
PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD!!