Wednesday December 2, 2020
Light a candle
Pray Psalm 119:17-20, 24
Read Luke 1:5-25
Read reflection by Vivian Mitchell
What is Advent? The dictionary defines it this way: Advent: To wait with anticipation and expectation. The word Advent is derived from the Latin word advntus meaning coming. While Advent is a time of celebration and anticipation of Christ’s birth it is also a shadow of the fulfillment of a promise yet to come, that of Jesus’ second coming. The season of Advent always points us to Jesus!
Traditionally, Advent last for the four weeks leading up to Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends Christmas morning with the lighting of The Jesus, or Christmas candle. The most common symbol of Advent is the Advent Wreath of evergreens with four candles around it and a fifth candle placed in the middle. There is a lot of symbolism in the Advent wreath. The circle reminds us of God’s unending love and eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. The wreath itself is draped in evergreens to remind us of everlasting life in the season of winter and death. Often holly berries are added to the wreath, the red of the berries pointing to Jesus ‘sacrifice and death. The candles also had meaning in their color. Week one, two, and four are usually purple candles, a color associated with penance and the third week is a pink candle that represents rejoicing. The candle in the center of the wreath, the Jesus candle is white for purity.
I first learned about celebrating Advent at a Christmas luncheon given by some women at Rose Hill Presbyterian Church in Kirkland. That next year our family moved to Monroe and that Christmas we brought the tradition to our home. When the kids were young, this became the tradition that signaled the begging of the Christmas season. We used a yule log instead of the traditional wreath, which had a candle for each day of the week. We wouldn’t use purple and pink candles we would use red and green and sometimes all white – that’s what Ben Franklin had on sale. It was a time at the end of the day that we would all come together and we would all participate in the evening devotion and for a short time our focus was on Jesus. Each evening they would take turns lighting the candle, reading the scripture, getting to place the piece for that day on the Christmas mural and then after our evening prayer time would get to blow out the candle.
The first week of Advent centers on Hope. The dictionary defines hope as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust. Another dictionary states that it is to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment; to believe, desire, or trust. The expectations found in seeking a life with Jesus are not unattainable, just the opposite they are filled with God given hope. Our reading today in Luke is a perfect example of this. As I read the account of John the Baptist birth in Luke I can’thelp but notice the hopelessness Elizabeth felt of never having a child of her own. Not only was she barren but she was also “advanced in years”. For Elizabeth and Zechariah this had to be a hopeless situation. And yet they both remained righteous and blameless and hopeful before God. To the world there seemed to be no hope at all. But with God all things are possible. Elizabeth not only gave birth to a son, she gave birth to the one whom was herald in scripture to be the voice crying from the wilderness. She gave birth to the one who Jesus Christ would proclaim to be the greatest man who ever lived. Now that’s hope!
My prayer is that all of us can find our hope and expectations in Jesus Christ this Christmas!