What is Advent?
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The Church, from its earliest beginnings to present day, has set aside
specific times throughout the year to reflect solely on Christ’s
sacrifice. Traditionally, Advent and Lent were observed in much the same
way; a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord through fasting
and repentance of sins. The seasons focused not only on Christ’s time on
earth but also on His Second Coming. As advent falls on the fourth
Sunday prior to Christmas, the western church has used Advent to focus
upon the preparation of Christ’s birth foretold through the prophecies;
while the Eastern Church retains the original forty-day period of
fasting and prayerful reflection.
When is Advent
Advent begins on the Fourth Sunday before Christmas. Many churches use
the first Sunday of advent as a celebration time and traditionally call
this the “hanging of the greens” when the church is decorated with
evergreen boughs to signify eternal life.
The shape and elements present in the wreath tell the story of salvation
from beginning to end. The circular shape of the wreath is symbolic of
God’s eternal nature as He has no beginning and no end. Accents used in
the wreath signify the ministry of Jesus Christ and the work done on
Calvary. Laurel signifies victory over death. The green Pine and Yew
represent eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Healing and
strength is depicted by the Cedar bough. The thorns of the Holly are
reminiscent of the Crown of thorns worn for our Salvation and the
resurrection and life is shown in the pine cones, nuts and seeds.
Like the greenery, the candles show unique significance. The Light from
the candles symbolizes the Light of the World. The Four Candles
represent hope, peace, joy and love with the center and fifth candle
signifying the Light of Jesus as an answer to our prayers. Each of the
four candles represent s 1,000 years thus depicting the 4000 years from
Adam to Christ’s Nativity (birth).
Traditionally the color of royalty, purple, is used to welcome the
Advent of the King; as the color also represents suffering it is used
during Lent and the Holy Week. Thus tying the complete story of Christ
in which the Nativity cannot be separated from the finished work of
Calvary. The third candle is unique in that it traditionally is rose or
pink in color. Many churches now use varying colors to distinguish
Advent from Lent. Blue is now used to represent the Night Sky. Green
Candles for everlasting life and Red to signify the cleansing of sins
with the white candle in the middle to emphasize Isaiah – “though your
sins be as scarlet they shall be made white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18
Hope – the first week of Advent.
[A] Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 17:1-22)
- - God’s promise became mankind’s hope. [B] Moses (Ex. 1:15-2:10) - -
the promise “saved” in times of adversity. [C] The Light (Is. 9:2) - - a
people who walked in darkness saw a light.
Peace – the second week of Advent.
[A] Isaiah’s prophecy (Is. 11:6-9)
- - a wolf living with a lamb is “peace past understanding”. [B] John
the baptizer (Mt. 3:1-12; Mk. 1:1-8; Lk. 3:1-18) - - the pathway to
peace-making is hard because we must be changed.
Joy – the third week of Advent.
[A] Joy comes through Shalom (Is.
61:1-3a) - - the Hebrew word shalom is often translated as “peace”, but
the Hebrew understanding of shalom includes all our notions of peace,
justice, health and harmony for creation. Jesus chose this Isaiah
passage to describe his own ministry of joy. [B] Elizabeth and Zechariah
(Luke 1:5-24 and 57-80) - - Like Abraham and Sarah, Elizabeth &
Zechariah were promised a child (which brought great joy).
Love – the fourth week of Advent.
[A] God with us (Is. 7:14) - - The
Child’s name, Emmanuel, is a promise of love that is present with us.
[B] Mary and Joseph (Lk. 1:26-56 and Mt. 1:18-25) - - Joseph’s love for
(pregnant) Mary is a human expression of God’s love for us.
The Christ Candle – Christmas eve
The Light has Come – “Arise ,
Shine for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you”
The Advent Series is a beautiful array of motions and stills craft fully
designed to help in the reflection of Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice.
Each set offers a unique perspective of the Advent candles designed to
be used for each week of the season, depicting the progressive lighting
of the candles.