We have included an Advent Calendar featuring daily bible verses
and suggestions for the Advent season. To view and print the
Advent is a Latin word meaning 'coming' or 'arrival'. The
celebration of the season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday
before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve (December 24). During
this season, Christians around the world prepare for the coming of
our Lord and Savior into the world.
The church's focus during the Advent season is threefold - the
coming of Christ in the past, present, and future. Firstly, we
remember our Lord's coming in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago
(past). This, of course, is the celebration of Christmas.
Secondly, we give thanks for his presence with us through His word
and sacraments (present). Lastly, we look forward with
anticipation and hope to his victorious second coming as Judge and
King at the end of the ages (future).
Advent is much more than simply marking a historical event. The
season of Advent is ultimately about celebrating the truth about
God and celebrating the revelation of God in Christ through whom
all of creation may be reconciled to Him.
The Significance of the Advent Candles
Historically, purple has been the color for the season of Advent
(although, in recent times, some churches have also begun using
royal blue). This is due in large part to the fact that purple was
the most costly dye in ancient times and was therefore used by
kings to indicate their royal status. Purple is also the color of
suffering used during Lent and Holy Week.
Typically, the first, second, and fourth candles are purple or
blue in color, corresponding to the sanctuary colors of Advent.
The third candle is usually pink or rose in color. As mentioned
above, the Advent season begins with the lighting of the first
candle on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This can occur as
early as November 27th or as late as December 3rd.
Although there is no set meaning associated with the four colored
Advent candles, the most accepted themes are, in order of
lighting, Hope, Peace, Joy & Love. The first candle (hope) draws
attention to the anticipation of the coming of a Messiah. The
second candle (peace) focuses on the coming of Christ who brings
forgiveness from our sins. The third candle (Joy) celebrates the
joy of waiting - because we know how the story ends! The fourth
candle (love) represents the coming of the Son of Mary, the Son of
The fifth candle, unlike the others, has a set meaning, location
and color. It is called the Christ Candle and is always white and
is located in the center of the other candles or wreath. The
Christ Candle signifies the birth of Jesus the Christ. It is
traditionally lighted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. However,
if a church does not have a service on either of those days, many
churches choose to light it on the Sunday preceding Christmas,
with all five candles continuing to be lighted in services through
Epiphany (January 6).
Even the light from the candles themselves is an important symbol
of the season. The light serves to remind us that Jesus is the
light of the world bringing life and hope. The light also reminds
us that we as Christians are called to be a light to the world.
The Significance of the Wreath
The Advent wreath is another popular symbol of the season of
Advent. The wreath, consisting of a circle of evergreen branches,
is set around four or five candles (depending on whether or not
the Christ Candle is used). The evergreen circle symbolizes the
eternal life that Christ has won for all believers.
The Reason for the Season
After all is said and done however, the season of Advent is
ultimately about the anticipation and celebration of the birth of
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Colors of candles may differ
somewhat from church to church. The candles' meanings may vary.
Even the significance of the wreath can differ. Through all this,
the one constant is the one found at the center of this season of
Advent. He truly is the reason for this season!