THE SEASON OF ADVENT
The season of advent is one of the seasons of the Christian Calendar. The term “Advent” was adopted from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning coming or arrival which when translated in Greek means Parousia.
The season of advent in the church calendar is one that anticipates the coming of Christ from three different ways: the physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and the eschatological second coming.
In the advent season, the readings and teachings are often the preparation for the second coming and the last judgement. These homilies are based on the readings of the four Sundays in advent. Which have different themes following the different Advent wreath.
The wreath is the widely recognized symbol of Advent. The wreath is made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. in the center of the circle is a fifth candle (usually white), the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas day.
The wreath circle also reminds us of Gods eternal and limitless mercy which is all old as God himself and will last forever. The green of the wreath signifies hope that we have in God, a Hope for newness of life and hope for eternal life.
The Advent candles
Candles in Christianity represent light and the church has five candles which are lit on each Sunday of advent. The candles have their different meaning and reasons why they are lit on every Sundays of advent. Usually, the last candle is lit on Christmas day.
The four advent themes and Candles
The four traditional advent themes for the four advent Sunday are:
- God’s people (Candle of Hope)
Whenever we look intensely at this candle of hope lit on the altar, we see a light shinning in the dark place. As we take a look at this light of this candle, we celebrate our hope in God, in Christ and also in the eternal life. Just like the prophet Jeremiah assures us in chapter 33:14 -16, that in those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely.
- The Old Testament Prophets (Candle of peace)
The light of this candle and the theme for the second of week of advent signify and teaches us to find peace in Christ Jesus. The readings from Baruch 5:1- 9, teaches us that when we welcome God into our life and situation he will come to show his splendor and He shall be called our “Peace and Righteousness and the glory of godliness.”
- John the Baptist (Candle of Love)
When the third candle is lit on the third Sunday of advent, we see the love of Christmas already in the air The readings of this Sunday draw us closer to Christ who is our love who comes to give us great Joy. Zephaniah 3:14 echoes “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion: shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has cast out you enemies.
- Mary the mother of Jesus (Candle of Joy)
The Candle of 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. This Sunday theme teaches us that God can use even the weak among us to do his work. A perfect example is our Mother Mary who can from a poor background and was used by God to bring the Messiah to the human race.
- The fifth candle represents the birth of Christ.
The flame of this candle reminds us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world and that if we follow him, we will never walk in darkness, but we will have the true light of life.
The church use Purple or Violet as her colors for the altar and Priestly vestment. On the third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday), the church uses the Rose color instead.
May God bless and reward you as we journey in these four weeks of Advent faithfully.
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