With the coming of Christmas, I thought I’d give you a little insight into what the season of Advent is all about. Last year I had written about the true meaning of Christmas, décor and a party. So, this year I thought we could help each other get ready to prepare ourselves for a holy Christmas.
Advent is a season, of the liturgical year when most Christian denominations wait and spiritually prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus as well as the return of Jesus the second time. This year, it began on 28th November. The candles, made of bee wax, are placed in a circle on a wreath and lit in the following order every Sunday before Christmas.
The First Sunday of Advent – The PURPLE candle stands for HOPE. It is also called the Expectation candle as the Gospel reading speaks about the second coming of Jesus.
The Second Sunday of Advent – This PURPLE candle stands for PEACE. It is also called the Bethlehem candle or the candle of preparation. The Gospel reading calls for peace with God and our neighbours.
The Third Sunday of Advent – The PINK candle stands for JOY. It is also called the shepherd candle or the candle of joy. This Sunday is known as Gaudete Sunday or Rejoicing Sunday as the 1st and 2nd reading calls to rejoice. The Gospel reading speaks of Jesus as the bringer of the joy of salvation.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent – The PURPLE candle stands for LOVE. It is called the candle of love or the angel candle. The Gospel reading speaks of the Virgin Mary’s love for God.
The CHRISTMAS Candle – The WHITE candle or the Advent candle is lit to represent purity, light, regeneration and godliness. White is also a symbol of VICTORY. This candle is lit on 24th December and is positioned in the center of the wreath to remind us that, whatever happens, Jesus is the center of our lives.
Only candles made of bees wax are used because bees wax is pure, unadulterated and naturally obtained from God’s creation (the bees), unlike commercially prepared wax.
When I was looking for tips on how to prepare ourselves for Christmas, I was amused to see that there were several lists around the internet on when to get the tree ready and where to buy the meat and how to get your gifts organized but none on how to go about preparing ourselves spiritually. So, I decided to write the following merely to spread the word on how we can prepare our hearts for Christmas during the Advent season.
REFLECT, PRAY AND SING – Firstly, we should take time out to reflect and be thankful for all that God has given us. We should be grateful for all the little things in our lives. We should pray for the unfortunate, needy, sick and those who are lost and hurting, so that they may find peace. Besides praying for the less fortunate, we can also try to help them with their physical and/or spiritual needs.
READ THE BIBLE – Read, study and meditate on the words in the story of Jesus’ birth. Ask God to help you understand the passages better each time you read them slowly with fresh eyes. Read to learn and absorb the true meaning of the Holy Book.
PRAISE & WORSHIP – During this season, we can honour God by the way we live. For example, it is always nice to speak words of encouragement to others instead of the negative. Treat your loved ones with respect. Humbly serve your family. Also, sing praises to God for His goodness and grace.
FAMILY TIME – Try and gather your loved ones and spend some quality time together. While having dinner or opening your gifts, you can practice the art of listening to those who love you. Truly listening is one of the best ways to show that you care. Don’t forget to make memories while you’re at it.
REMEMBER JESUS – Last, but not least, we should remember Jesus. We should remember that Jesus was born only to die for us. Remember that God sent His only Son to pay the price of our sins and save us. Remember to never put an X in Christmas because Jesus, and only Jesus, is the center of Christmas.
Advent is about reliving the ancient expectancy of the Messiah. The Jews waited for a thousand years for Christmas after the promise was made to David. We wait only for 4 weeks till Christmas.
So, while we are putting up the tree, scrutinizing our guest lists and selecting the best meats for the family, we should remember to first prepare our hearts and souls so that we, as well as those around us, can have a blessed Christmas.
What did you think of this article? If you like it, do spread the word and help everyone have a holy Christmas and a happy holiday!
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