Sunday December 2nd began the season of Advent, the four weeks
preceding Christmas. Advent is a gift to us, to help us to mindfully step back
and take a break from the siren call of advertisers and the world that tells
us all the things we HAVE to do before Christmas. Let’s face it, it can get
One of the means of counting down the weeks until Christmas is the
Advent wreath that you’ll see at church. There are a number of ways to
look at the symbolism of the candles on the Advent wreath. Here is but
one: The first candle is the prophecy candle. This reminds us of the
prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the coming of the Messiah. Hope
or expectation in the anticipation of the coming Messiah is represented by
this first candle.
The second candle is the Bethlehem candle, symbolizing Jesus’ birth in
Bethlehem. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in
bands of cloth and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).
The third candle is the Shepherds candle and it represents joy. “In that
region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their
flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory
of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel
said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of
great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a
Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11).
The fourth candle is the Angels candle. This represents peace and is lit on
the last Sunday of Advent. “13 And suddenly there was with the angel a
multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in
the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’”
Another tool to help us count down the days of Advent toward Christmas is
the Advent calendar. This tradition goes back to the mid nineteenth century.
These calendars come in all sizes and styles. At church we have
Advent calendars for your family. Please take one.
Take time to enjoy your friends and family and most of all, to remember
what this season is truly about. As we work our way toward Bethlehem and
our Savior’s birth, remember that God gave us the greatest gift of all when
he sent his Son to redeem us.
May you have a blessed Advent and
Christmas from our family to yours.