For denominations that celebrate Advent, the holiday marks the beginning of the church’s liturgical year. Advent is primarily observed in churches that adhere to an ecclesiastical calendar of liturgical seasons, feasts, memorials, fasts, and holy days. Those churches include Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican / Episcopalian,Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian.
The season of Advent is a period of both repentance and celebration. Christians spend time in spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. Believers remember not only the Lord’s first coming to earth as a human baby but also celebrate his continued presence with us today through the Holy Spirit. Advent is also a time for worshipers to anticipate his return at the Second Coming of Christ.
The word “advent” comes from the Latin term “adventus” which means “arrival” or “coming,” particularly the arrival of something or someone of great significance. null
The Candles of the Advent Wreath
The lighting of an Advent Wreath is a traditional custom that originated in Germany in the 16th-century. On the branches of the wreath are four candles: three purple and one pink candle. In the center of the wreath sits a white candle.
On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple (or violet) candle is lit. This is called the “Prophecy Candle” and recalls the prophets, particularly Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Jesus Christ. It represents hope or expectation of the coming Messiah.
Each Sunday following, an additional candle is lit. On the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle called the “Bethlehem Candle,” is lit. This candle represents love and symbolizes Christ’s manger.
On the third Sunday of Advent, the pink (or rose) candle is lit. This Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “rejoice.” The change from purple to pink signifies the transition in season from repentance to celebration. The pink candle is called the “Shepherds Candle” and represents joy.
The last purple candle is called the “Angels Candle,” It is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent and represents peace.
Traditionally, on Christmas Eve, the white center candle is lit. This “Christ Candle” represents the life of Jesus Christ that has come to light the world. It represents purity.
40:1 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
40:2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
40:3 A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
40:4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
40:5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
40:6 A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.
40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
40:9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
40:10 See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
40:11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
85:1 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
85:2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah
85:8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
85:9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
85:10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
85:11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
85:12 The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
85:13 Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
2 Peter 3:8-15a
3:8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.
3:9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
3:11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness,
3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?
3:13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
3:14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish;
3:15a and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.
1:1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
1:2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
1:3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'”
1:4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
1:5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
1:6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
1:7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
1:8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”