December 2014

Advent Wreaths and Faith Formation

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

"Advent" simply means coming. For Christians it means "Christ is coming", and for all Christian now He has arrived. Advent points to His birth when He came to live among us. It is time from us to welcome the King of kings. The Old Testament prophets told everyone that Immanuel "God with us" would come. Jesus is "the Word made flesh" for our hope, and he is the key player in God's rescue plan. Advent represents our hope, our excitement, and our preparation for who Christ is and what He has done for us. He arrived into the world as a little baby, being fully God and fully man. He was one of us, as the Son of Man, as a baby born in a manger. He came for you, and He comes into our lives and into our hearts. He is coming again to make all things new again.

Traditionally, during the Christmas season many churches have an advent wreath, and this is a widely known practice in many diverse denominations. Many families have begun this tradition in their homes as well. The Advent wreath dates to the beginning of the 19th century in Europe. This Advent Wreath is arranged with 4 or 5 Advent candles, 3 or 4 of which are in a circle, along with one in the center. Each candle has a powerful message about God's rescue plan for his people. This is a great teaching tool for faith formation and should be  considered more than  just another holiday decoration.

The Candles: The Advent candles refer to the significance that Christ is the Light of the world. When they are lit, they are symbols of His coming as the "Light of the World". These candles also have a color theme too, purple, pink and white. The first two or three are purple meaning royalty, but also this is the color of suffering. Pink means joy. The Christ candle is white.

Each candle has a special meaning. The first candle (purple)  is the "CANDLE OF HOPE". The second candle (purple) is the "CANDLE OF PEACE".The third candle (pink or rose) is the "CANDLE OF JOY". The fourth candle (purple) is the "CANDLE OF LOVE" . The fifth candle (white) "CHRIST CANDLE" symbolizes God giving light to the world. Its location is in the center.  

Each candle is lighted each week in progression until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when the last candle is lit. Each week the new unlit candle for that week is lighted, and then the previous candles are re-lighted.  Families can read a passage, sing a carol, say a prayer, or do all three. 

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