The Advent Wreath

advent wreathThe four weekends before Christmas are set apart in the life of the Church as the season of ‘Advent’.  Advent means ‘coming’.

During this season we prepare ourselves to celebrate the first coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago at Christmas, and we prepare ourselves for his second coming at the end of time.

But in this Advent season we do not only look forwards, we look back through the history of our salvation as well.  We give thanks for all those who, before the first coming of Jesus, pointed the way and held open the hope that a Messiah would come. 

As we remember their faithfulness we pray that we will be strengthened as we live in our own time of waiting for Christ to come again in glory.   As we live through our own trials and difficulties, we remember that we are called to remain faithful as they were in their own time.

Each weekend we light a candle on our Advent Wreath to remind us of those who waited before the first coming of Jesus.

On the first weekend in Advent we lit the first candle remembering the patriarchs, the first followers of God, who knew nothing about Jesus, but who hoped for a closer relationship with their creator.

On the second weekend in Advent we will light a candle for the prophets, remembering all those who, before the coming of Jesus,looked for a time when a Messiah would come to inaugurate his Kingdom.

Then, on the third weekend in Advent we will light a candle as we remember John the Baptist, the one who prepared a way in the wilderness, the last of the Prophets to announce that Christ was coming soon.

On the last weekend in Advent, the weekend before Christmas, we light a candle for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the one to whom the coming of the Messiah was announced, and the one who bore him in her womb.

Then finally as we celebrate the first coming of Christ at Christmas together we light the white candle that symbolises for us the light of Christ in the world, a light that cannot be extinguished but that burns brightly forever.  In all of this we remember that this season is a time of waiting, and conversion and hope and we pray “Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!”

Father David.