Wednesday, December 05, 2007


One way that many have prepared for Christmas is through Advent. The four weeks leading up to Christmas is called Advent. Advent means coming or arrival. Jesus’ coming to earth was a history changing and life changing event for people of that day, 2000 years ago. It is still just as significant for our culture today, and we continue to today to be prepared for the day when Jesus comes again.

Advent is filled with symbolism too. The wreath is a circle that has no end and symbolizes the eternity and Jesus’ reign for all eternity as our Lord and Savior. It is also a reminder that God has always been, He is called the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:13). The wreath is green which represents life, and the new life we have in our relationship with Jesus.

Let’s look at the light that comes from the candle. Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:9). Jesus came into a world filled with sin and darkness. And as Christians, followers of Jesus we are to carry that light for others to see. We are not to hide our light. (Matthew 5:14) Each week as we light a candle we move that much closer to the coming of Jesus.

Notice there are four candles on the outside ring of the wreath. These represent the 4 centuries of waiting between Malachi and the birth of Jesus. They also represent four emotional responses that come from our relationship with Jesus: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

Three of the candles are purple and they are lit first, one week at a time. Purple represents repentance, purple also represents royalty. Jesus came from the line of King David. We are adopted into that royal family.

The fourth candle, the pink or rose colored one represents joy. It also represents Mary who carried Jesus in her womb. Mary was highly favored by God. Imagine the risk, imagine the ridicule that Mary faced by having to explain to her future husband that she was pregnant with the Son of God. Imagine the joy that a mother experiences waiting for the arrival of her baby.

The white candle, the one in the middle represents Jesus. It is white because it represents the purity of Jesus, who was sinless. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve to represent that Jesus has come. He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Week 1: Hope

Jeremiah 33:14-16
‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, God’s people had forgotten about Him and were facing their destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. But God had not forgotten them. Despite their disobedience and unbelief, God declared that He would still keep His part of the promise and send a Savior. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise, and the death and resurrection of Jesus was the complete fulfillment of our salvation.

Read Luke 21:25-36

From the early days of the church, Christians believed that the same Jesus whom they had come to deeply know and love, would come again at the end of the world.

At first, like St Luke in today’s Gospel reading, they expected the end to happen in their generation. Slowly they had to adjust to the fact that God was not in such a hurry. Yet they never wavered from the belief that at the end, one day, Jesus would come again in the cloud (shekinah) of God’s glory. It was a theme repeated with sparkling eyes. Good news: The Gospel.

The Final Coming of Christ Jesus is first a message of hope and joy. It is always Gospel, good news, something to get excited about.

Let’s pray from the Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness,
and put on the armor of light,
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility;
that in the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge both the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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