This week for Wednesday Worship, Jennifer Wake shares with us how we can prepare our hearts during this season of Advent.
by Jennifer Wake
I love Christmas and I especially love Nativity scenes or Creches. I may or may not have a problem with collecting sets. If you ask me, I don’t have a problem. If you ask my family or my movers, I have a problem.
I love how a unique Nativity set can remind me of where I bought it. Buying a Nativity from a Christmas Market in Germany fills my heart with the joy of the season. However, more than where they are from, they remind me of the reason for advent.
Season of Advent
The word Advent means preparation. The Season of Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a season to prepare our hearts. We are to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
Now don’t misunderstand me. I am not talking about Christ coming as a baby. He has already done that. He won’t come again like that. The next time he comes to earth, he will come in power and strength.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ESV
While salvation rests on the first coming of Jesus, Jesus’ second coming is what we are preparing for. Because of this, Nativity sets remind me of the place of his first arrival, Bethlehem. And even as I love to stare at the Christmas tree and the decorations, there is an important part of Christmas is often overlooked, the Advent Wreath.
We light the Advent wreath to remind us to prepare for Christ’s Second coming. The circle shape reminds us of the eternal love of God. The love of God has no beginning and no end. The evergreens remind us of the hope of eternal life. There are three purple candles, one pink candle and the center is a white candle. The color purple is to remind us of penance while the pink is for joy. Each candle reminds us of different people related the birth of Christ as well as different part of the character of Christ.
The first candle is called the Hope candle. It is across from the pink candle. It represents the prophets who prepared the world for Christ and the hope of his resurrection.
The second purple candle is the Faith candle. Tradition states we light them counterclockwise. It is also called the Bethlehem candle. It represents the Magi who had faith to travel for years to arrive in Bethlehem. We must be faithful to prepare for his second coming.
The third candle is Joy. It is pink or rose-colored. It represents the shepherds and the joy they felt at the announcement of the birth. Jesus our Shepherd will bring the world Joy when he returns.
The fourth candle is the Love candle. Some traditions call it the peace candle. It represents the angels who came to announce the birth. His coming will bring peace and love to the whole world.
The white center candle is the Christ candle. Lit on Christmas Eve this candle reminds us that Christ is the center of everything.
When all the candles are lit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the light reminds us that Jesus has come and will come again.
This song reminds me that it all started in a small town in Judea, in Bethlehem.
Because of Bethlehem by Stephen Fryrear
We would love to hear about your Advent traditions. Share in the comments below or on any of our social media platforms.