What is Advent?
There are many sites on the internet that will go into great detail on what Advent is. Here I will include a few things that mean something to me and those Christians around me and certainly not the whole story. Most of the whole story will develop within your own heart as you experience what Advent will mean for you. The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia.
Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. The first Sunday is the Sunday of Hope. The second Sunday is the Sunday of Peace. The third Sunday is the Sunday of Joy. The fourth Sunday is the Sunday of Love. Christmas Day is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the coming of our salvation and repentance.
Within the Christian faith we see Jesus as the light in our lives, so we light candles. During Advent we use a wreath with candles to help us focus as we start our journey toward Christmas and the rest of the Christian year. A wreath is round, symbolizing no beginning no ending in Christ Jesus and in the love God has for us. We use evergreen boughs to symbolize everlasting life in Christ Jesus. A purple bow is sometimes used to symbolize the royalty of Christ Jesus as our king. Four candles are used around the wreath with an additional candle in the center. The four candles each represent one Sunday of Advent. Three candles are purple in color representing repentance and fasting and the forth candle is pink in color representing joy.
The fifth candle is white and is in the center of the wreath. It is the Christ candle and it is lit on Christmas day signifying the birth and life of Christ Jesus. We light one candle each week and then the Christ candle, adding to the light throughout Advent, and into Christmas. Christ is the light. In my house and in my Church we leave the Christ candle out all year. Each Sunday we light the Christ candle at the beginning of the worship service and at the end of the service we carry the light out representing taking Christ out with us into the world.
There is much more to the story and journey of Advent and into Christmas. Start your journey, take a step, and one more. What will you expect and realize?