Yesterday was the 2nd Sunday of Advent. So often when I hear the word, I am reminded of a line from The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means". Advent is not the "Santa Countdown" or some sort of December party time or how many shopping days are left.
The word 'Advent' is a noun noting the arrival of an important person or event. In this case Advent notes both...the arrival of Jesus Christ and the events of His first and second coming. Advent contains repentance, remembrance, and anticipation. It was intended to be a serious time of looking inside yourself, a season of fasting and renewal.
Advent candles are lit on the Sunday of each of the weeks of Advent. As a group, they symbolize the difference between darkness and Light. The four candles are traditionally purple or blue. Sometimes the fourth candle is rose or pink for peace.
The first candle lit is the "Prophet" candle. It symbolizes Hope...the hope we have in Christ.
The second candle lit is the "Bethlehem" candle. It symbolizes Faith... as with the faith of Joseph and Mary.
The third candle lit is the "Shepherd" candle. It symbolizes Joy...as was the joy of the shepherds as they heard the angels announcement.
The fourth candle lit is the "Angel" candle. It symbolizes Peace... Peace on Earth and Good Will to ALL men.
An Advent wreath can have a fifth candle in the center. It is white and symbolizes Jesus Christ. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve.
I wish you all a blessed season of renewal and joy.
(This post was originally written for a group that I am a member of. We are doing advent messages this year and I was asked to write 3.)