With the start of December comes the start of the Advent season. The word advent in Latin means: coming- The Lord is coming. There is an anticipation and excitement to be found here as we enter into this season of celebration.
The Christmas season is a magical time of the year from parties, family gatherings, celebration of the birth of Christ, spending time with family, etc… Much of the time we get lost in more of the secular part of Christmas; we have to find the perfect gift, get to all the parties, make sure the kids see Santa, and take family pictures in front of the tree. This year has taught that more than ever the focus has to be first and foremost Christ.
With the first Sunday comes the start of many celebrations in the season around the world. Many start with the lighting of the first candle in their advent wreath, some will celebrate with calendars, advent windows in businesses, the building of nativity scenes up to Christmas day with small figurines, making colorful lanterns, live nativities, and many traditional baked goods are served through the season. We all may celebrate differently but the point is, is that we keep our focus on the coming of Christ.
The advent wreath has so much symbolism to the life of Christ and His unending love. Although I am not catholic or Lutheran it has come to my attention that this maybe something to incorporate into the season to remind myself of the sacrifice Christ made for me. The wreath started in Europe and starts with the gradual lighting of four candles through out the advent season. The wreath symbolizes everlasting life. Usually it is dressed with holly and berries; the holly represent the resurrection and the pine cones represent the new life. There are red candles that are lit on weekdays and white candles that are lit Sundays.
The alternative more common wreath uses colored candles each with a meaning but each only lit on Sunday. The first, second and fourth candles are purple colored. The third candle is rose colored and sometimes their will be a fifth candle placed that is white. In some settings all candles are white.
Each candle in the wreath represents different attributes. The first candle symbolizes hope and is called the Prophets Candle. The second candle stands for faith and is called Bethlehem’s candle. The third candle represents joy and is called the shepherds candle. The fourth candle symbolizes peace and is called the Angel’s candle. When there is a fifth candle placed it represents light and purity and is called Christ’s candle. It is lit only on Christmas Day
How ever you chose to celebrate the season let us keep the focus on Christ. Without him we have nothing. May your Christmas season by blessed and may you be a blessing to others.