Advent Wreath - Lighting the First Candle
Happy first Sunday of Advent!!!!!
Because of the quarantine and meeting outside, lighting our traditional Advent wreath as a church this year was a challenge, but you can keep the tradition alive at home with your loved ones as you celebrate Advent.
Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas. (The word “advent” comes from the Latin word that means “coming.”)
For hundreds of years, Christians have used an Advent wreath to inspire their hopes for the coming of Christ. By lighting candles and reading Bible verses, we are reminded about the meaning of Christ’s birth and become more excited about his coming in the past, in the future, and in our own lives.
There is no set meaning for the candles of the Advent wreath (except for the middle candle, which always signifies the birth of Jesus the Christ and is often called the Christ Candle). Some churches view the candles as pointing to peace, hope, joy, and love. In other churches they are identified with key figures in the stories of the birth of Jesus, such as the shepherds, the angels, Joseph, and Mary. Others focus on different aspects of our waiting in Advent, paralleling how the earlier believers before Christ waited for His coming and how we today wait for His return – His second coming.
The Advent wreath employ candles with different colors. Some wreaths use all white candles; others use three purple or blue candles, one pink candle, and one white candle in the middle. We share an understanding of the Advent wreath with many Christians for whom the purple candles remind us of how serious and solemn God’s people have been in waiting for the Messiah. The pink signifies the joy of our waiting. The white is triumphant and celebrative because Christ is born, which we will light on our Christmas Eve service here at DRC and we hope you all will attend.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, so it's the day/night for the first candle to be lit. Below is a short devotion for you and yours. Enjoy.
The Lighting of the First Candle: Waiting for the Shepherd
- We remember Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore.
- We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus.
- We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins.
The candles have different meanings, each based upon the Bible. These meanings help us understand how special the birth of Jesus is for us. Today we focus on the coming of Christ as our Shepherd. Listen to the word of the Lord in Isaiah 40.
1 “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. 2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand, double for all her sins.” 3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 4 “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
“This is the word of the Lord” (Thanks be to God)
Isaiah 40 looks ahead to the coming of the Lord, who will care for his people like a shepherd. As we light the candle, let us think of God our Shepherd and God’s people centuries ago who relied on Him. Let us look forward with hope to the coming of the Shepherd.
Prayer of Hope: Dear God, as we light this candle, we hope for your coming as our Good Shepherd. Please gather us in your arms, feed us by your Word and Spirit, wipe away every tear from our eyes, and “let your face shine, that we may be saved”. Come, our Shepherd! Amen.