Advent: The Way to Bethlehem
On the second Sunday of Advent, two purple candles can be lit. God is faithful and enriches us in all things, and able to keep us steadfast. Remember, with the God, all things are possible. Including and especially, peace, for ourselves, and for the whole world.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Advent is a season that begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, when the Church commemorates the centuries of waiting for the arrival of the Savior promised to the Jews in the Old Testament. For Christians, the season of Advent is a time of quiet meditation in preparation for the Christmas celebration in honor of the birth of Jesus.
Each of the four weeks before Christmas in churches, and in many homes, candles will be lit on an Advent wreath. The history of using a lighted wreath of greens to celebrate the anticipation of the birth of Christ dates to the 9th century AD, when Christians adopted the candle-lit wreath as a symbol of the new faith.
The circle is an ancient symbol, used by many ancient cultures to symbolize eternity. The evergreen branches are also ancient symbols for eternal life. Christians took these ancient symbols and “baptized” them, giving them Christian meanings. The candles symbolized Christ, the Light of the World. Together, the Advent wreath then, is a message, that symbolizes Christ, the Eternal Light of the World.
By the 16th century Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, throughout Europe commonly used these symbols to celebrate their hope in Christ. Homes, churches, and public buildings all across Europe used Advent wreathes.
Traditionally, the Advent wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. Three of the candles are purple, and one is pink (rose). Each day the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal- one candle the first week, and then adding another each succeeding week, until December 25th.
Purple, symbolizes penitence (sorrow for wrong-doing) and humility. Advent is a time of solemn preparation for the Feast of Christmas – the dawn of new Light in the world and the fulfillment of Hope, with the birth of Jesus. Although most people tend to equate the Christmas season with joy and anticipation, during our Advent reflections we pray and meditate on the reasons why God had to send us a Savior. Thus, Advent is actually seen as a “penitential” season.
Rose symbolizes joy. The rose colored (pink) candle is burned beginning with the third week of Advent to symbolize the “half-way” point in the dark time of waiting. The third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday”. Gaudete is the Latin word for “joy,” and on Gaudete Sunday we focus on our anticipatory joy in the coming of our Savior.
Advent Reference: Here
GLCC congregation would love to have you be our guests this Sunday for our Celebration Service at 11:00 A.M.