Advent is the season of celebration during the four weeks prior to Christmas.
Each week one of the Advent candles is lit as a means to remind us about the coming of Jesus. The candles are each symbolic of a different facet of the Christmas message.
You may have seen an Advent Wreath or candle sets in stores. The Advent Wreath itself holds four candles with the center open for a large candle. The candle sets for the wreath come with three purple or sometimes blue candles and one pink candle. One large white candle placed free standing in the center of the wreath.
The following is a listing of the traditional lighting sequence for the candles and the symbolism behind each candle: Week One: The Candle of Hope (Purple); Week Two: The Candle of Peace (Purple); Week Three: The Candle of Joy (Pink); Week Four: The Candle of Love (Purple) and Christmas Eve: The Christ Candle (White)
On the final lighting, usually done on or near Christmas Eve all of the candles on the wreath are lit.
The following is the reading to be read during the lighting of the final, white, candle.
FIRST READER: The darkness of this world is familiar to all of us. But we light this candle and we are reminded of one powerful truth – no matter how deep the darkness, all it takes is one small flame to push it back. The light will always overcome the dark. Always.
SECOND READER: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 1-5)
FIRST READER: That Light – Jesus -- the Son of God, becomes the son of Mary. Jesus, the eternal Word of God, first cries, then grows, then learns, and then talks. Jesus, the firstborn over all creation, born to us in a manger. Jesus, by whom all things were created, arrives in an unassuming cave somewhere outside of an unassuming town in an unassuming part of the world. God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, for through Jesus, God would reconcile all things to himself -- making peace through his blood shed on the cross.
SECOND READER: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life!” (John 8:12)
Father, we are so grateful for the light of Jesus in our lives. We celebrate the fact that where the light is present, no darkness exists! May we remember that we are free to walk in your light – today and every day! Amen.
I pray that each and every one of readers have a blessed Christmas!
Were you able to observe St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6?
Don't worry if you weren't able to do anything on that particular day for someone.
There is still lots of time!
We have almost weekends before Christmas Day, which provides all of us with plenty of opportunity to be a blessing to someone this holiday season.
Remember, what you do doesn't have to take on the form of money, although there may be someone who is need financially.
I believe I mentioned before, simple acts could be shoveling snow, providing a meal, watching someone's children while they go shopping, making a phone call to see how someone is doing.
If you do one of these simple acts, you will be amazed at the response you receive from the recipient. You also may be surprised as to how you will afterwards, as well!