When you enter the sanctuary on Sunday you will notice that our hospitality team has been hard at work to help us to prepare for Christmas. The tree is up, beautifully decorated and lit. You may also notice that on the platform, is a beautiful Advent wreath adorned with five candles.
So what does Advent mean?
Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Beginning four Sundays before Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us to prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas.
So what’s up with the Advent wreath?
I’m glad you asked. For hundreds of years, Christians have used an Advent wreath to inspire their hopes for the coming of Christ. By lighting candles and reading Bible verses, we are reminded about the meaning of Christ’s birth and, if you are anything like me, become more excited about his coming in the past, in the future, and in our own lives.
There is no set meaning for the candles of the Advent wreath (except for the middle candle, which always signifies the birth of Jesus and is often called the Christ Candle). The four candles around the Christ Candle, most often point to peace, hope, joy, and love. However, I have heard that some churches identify the candles with key figures in the stories of the birth of Jesus, such as the shepherds, the angels, Joseph, and Mary.
Advent wreaths can also have candles with a variety of colours. Some wreaths use all white candles; others use three purple or blue candles, one pink candle, and one white candle in the middle.
The purple/blue candles remind us of how serious and solemn God’s people have been in waiting for the Messiah. The pink signifies the joy of our waiting. The white is triumphant and celebratory because Christ is born.
Each Sunday (beginning this Sunday) leading up to and including Christmas eve at Amberlea we will gather around the Advent wreath. We’ll light the candles and we will read the Word of God. But this is not something exclusive to a church setting. Why not do this with your family at home?
For those of you with young children, you know that they already have great expectations and high hopes during Advent – usually regarding Christmas presents, Santa Claus, holiday celebrations, and the like. Rather than discouraging these hopes (which is likely an impossible task!), why not add the “feel” of Advent by relating their hopes to biblical advent themes.
If you are interested in a worship guide, that you can use personally or with your family, to accompany the lighting of the candles of the Advent wreath, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Family Ministry director, Nancy at email@example.com and we will be sure to forward one to you.
Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping.
At Amberlea this Advent season will also be a time of surprises! You will want to be at Amberlea each Sunday to experience it first hand, and who knows you may even go home with a special Christmas gift!
Come, bring a friend and join us
as we experience the excitement of the season