Have you ever heard something for what seems like years, and all of the sudden you actually HEAR it with not just your ears, but your brain and your heart? Sort of like when you have a gonging clock in your house, but you don’t hear it until someone points it out to you. That’s what has happened with the concept of Advent for me. I’ve always known that the four weeks prior to Christmas were called the Advent season. I’ve had and seen advent wreaths with the four candles around the edge and one in the center. When I was 6, I burned my finger on a lighter trying to light my advent candle by myself (surprise, mom!). I have read a liturgy for the lighting of an Advent candle from stage during a church service. I remember learning that the candle in the center was the Christ candle. But, that is the extent of my retention of the information. This year, however, the word/the season, ADVENT, drew me in and I had to investigate more of what it meant. Although there is much more than I could write in a brief article, I am sharing a summary of what I found.
The definition of advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing or event; a coming into being. Additionally, the name Advent was adopted from the Latin, adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival”. In the New Testament of the Bible, this is the same term used when referring to the second coming of Christ. From this standpoint, Advent season in the Christian calendar anticipates the “coming of Christ” in 3 different ways:
During the advent season, a wreath lying flat with 4 or 5 candles that are lit consecutively on each of the 4 Sundays prior to Christmas, is used to commemorate each of the themes of the advent season. There is some differentiation between various denominations, churches and people who celebrate Advent, but here are some commonly held representations for each candle as it is lit to kick off the coming week of Advent:
When the wreath is complete, it resembles a crown. This reminds us that our great and coming King, came first as a humble baby, and yet was still a King. When He returns, there will be no doubt!!
As we celebrate this Advent Season, let’s share the message of hope contained in its meaning: Joy to the world, the Lord, our Christ, is come…and will come again to claim His own! May all be ready by having received Him, so that we can spend eternity with Him.