Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Advent: A Time of Preparation

I may be sharing more than I first anticipated over the next week, as we prepare our hearts and homes for a glorious day of Thanksgiving, quickly followed by the beautiful season of Advent.

I've come across so many beautiful passages and resources, and I'm working to devise a personal plan that will blend them all together in a lovely observance. But as I come across them, I want to share them with you. They are simply too lovely to keep for one's self, and I hope you will enjoy them and be blessed.

The following passage is from a lovely little book I found on The Internet Archives. This description of the Advent wreath being somewhat different from the more common candles of purple and pink, I found it inspiring as I have used white candles from the beginning. In some years we have included the Christ Candle, as well, and will again this year, though I still use a white candle, only the Christ Candle is a bit taller.  I also love the meanings given for each candle, which differ from what I had learned previously.

I was especially moved by this phrase;

"Whatever the arrangement of the color, the beauty of the wreath deepens the understanding of Advent as a time of preparation for the full appearing of life in Jesus Christ."

For however one chooses to observe the season of Advent, the meaning is not in the color, but the symbolism. "It is the light that gives the candle its meaning".  There is really no right or wrong way to carry out these rituals in your home. The most important aspect is the spirit in which they are observed.  I pray you'll be encouraged!

"The Advent wreath is a contribution of the German and Scandinavian traditions. It developed out of the simple use of an evergreen spray of fir, balsam or pine placed near the hearth.  The wreath is plain, without any ornamentation of ribbon or bow. The evergreen of the wreath, representing the life that is found in Christ. The greens have come from the out of doors, where nature has begun its winter sleep. Midst the drabness of nature, the evergreen branch symbolizes the continuation of life. In the home it is placed on a central table. In the church it is usually suspended above the alter, or set on a high pedestal resting on the floor.

The Advent candles are arranged with the spray. Candles have been used for centuries as the symbol of light, by the Jewish religion and others as well. It is not all that strange that Christian tradition has given the candle a prominent place in the observance of Advent.

It is the living light, the living flame, that gives the candle its meaning. This is what makes it more symbolic than artificial lights. 

The Advent candles are symbolic of the coming of Jesus, the living light of the world.

He is the light that broke forth on the world on that first Christmas when he was born as Prince of Peace. He is the light that gradually penetrated into all the world. The tradition of lighting one more candle each week, or each day, tells of the increasingly brighter light of His coming, and leads gradually to the blaze of light at the dawning of Christmas.

In the traditional use of four white candles for the four weeks of Advent, a specific meaning has been attached to each candle. The first has been called the Prophecy Candle, announcing the period of waiting. The second is the Bethlehem candle, symbolic of the preparations made to receive and to cradle the Christ child. The third is the Shepherds' Candles, which typifies the act of sharing Christ. And the fourth is the Angels' candle of love and final coming.

Sometimes a red Christ Candle is placed in the center of these four to be lighted on Christmas Eve. Whatever the arrangement of the color, the beauty of the wreath deepens the understanding of Advent as a time of preparation for the full appearing of life in Jesus Christ."

- Paul M. Lindberg
Advent: The Days Before Christmas

2 comments:

pam said...

I am loving all your posts. They are just packed with info. that speaks into my heart. Gosh, but I wish I had more time to peruse them. I will at some point, I know. Thank you so much for taking your time to share all this with us.

Kimberly Lottman said...

You are such an encouragement to me! Thanks so much! **Kindred Spirits**