I had so many readers enjoy the haikus I posted a few weeks ago, I thought I would write a few more for the Christmas season. Today I focus on Advent.
Advent is characterized as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the birth of Jesus and looking towards the Second Coming of Christ. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. To balance the two elements of waiting and preparing, the first two Sundays in Advent look forward to Christ’s second coming, and the last two Sundays look backward to remember Christ’s first coming. We are reminded that Jesus is the light of the world that came to dispel the darkness. In many churches and individual homes the lighting of the Advent candles encircled by a wreath has become a traditional practice during the Christmas season. The circle reminds us of God’s unending love and the eternal life He makes possible. The wreath itself is usually made of evergreen boughs to symbolize everlasting life in the midst of winter and death. Some choose to add holly berries to symbolize drops of blood shed by Jesus during His Passion. Five candles are placed inside the wreath representing Hope (the “Prophet’s Candle”), Preparation (waiting/faith) called “Bethlehem’s Candle”; Joy called the “Shepherd’s Candle” and Love (Peace) called the “Angel’s Candle”. Although not all follow this colour scheme, most adhere to the first, second, and fourth candles being purple, the third is rose coloured, and the fifth candle in the centre is usually white representing the Christ Child and all of creation’s Adoration celebrating His Birth. A new candle is lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas and the fifth candle is lit on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day.
Here are some suggested Scripture readings that correspond to each weekly theme:
Hope: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; Isaiah 2:2-7; Romans 13:11-14.
Preparation: Isaiah 40:3-5; Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 1:26-38.
Joy: Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 2:8-20; Matthew 2:10-11
Love: John 3:16-19; Psalm 24:1-10; Isaiah 7:10-14.
Adoration (white Christ candle): John 1:14; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14.
Other resources to learn more about Advent: What is Advent? ; The Beautiful Meaning and Purpose of Advent ; First Sunday of Advent in Canada.
The Joy of Advent
by Lynn Dove
With the lighting of candles.
Hearts aglow with Hope.
Prepare Him room in your heart.
Wait for His return.
Sing "Joy to the World"! Rejoice with all creation! Be at peace today!
The God of all Love,
He has come to save us all!
Hear the angels sing!
The Christ Child is our Saviour!
Jesus is our Hope!