Advent in Latin means “coming”… during this season of hope and expectation, Christians prepare for Jesus’ coming. The four candles on the Advent wreath symbolize HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE. The candles are lit in that order on Sundays before Christmas. On Christmas Eve or Day the white CHRIST candle (sitting in the center of the Advent wreath) is lit.
The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end. It is a symbol of endless love and faithfulness. Out of darkness light shines, pointing us in hope to the One (Jesus the Christ – the Center of Life) who came to overcome the darkness of this world and to be our light in the world to come.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.Isaish 9:2
What is Advent?
(from the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministries)
Advent is a time to reflect on the truth revealed by the Apostle John: God so loved the world that he gave his only son (John 3:16). “Advent” means the arrival of a notable person or event, and in the four weeks before Christmas, were member how Christ came to save us. Mankind’s rebellion caused separation and spiritual darkness; yet in the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World dispels the darkness and restores mankind’s relationship with God.
The light of the Advent candles are a testimony to the light Christ brings to a fallen world. The purple candles remind us of the royal status of the King of kings, who set aside the privileges of being the Son of God and took the form of a servant in human flesh. He humbled himself because he loved us. The birth of Jesus, the Light of the World dispels the darkness
We light a pink candle (the “joy candle”) on the third week of Advent. This color reminds us of the joy of the season, as God demonstrates his love in such a wonderful way. To those who receive him, he gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12). We experience deep and unshakable joy because he loved us.
We light the white candle (the “Christ candle”) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This color reminds us of the purity of Christ, whose perfect sacrifice brings peace between God and man. For those who trust in what Christ has done, the crimson stain of sin is made white like snow (Isaiah 1:18). We are spiritually clean because he loved us.
In the weeks preceding Christmas, many people celebrate sentimental expressions of love. Christians move beyond mere sentimentalism. We love from the firm foundation of experiencing the love of God in Christ. His love colors and shapes every aspect of life. In him, we demonstrate humility and joy. Cleansing cannot come from saying the right thing or doing the right thing. Justification is by faith alone.
What is the HOPE, PEACE, JOY, & LOVE of CHRIST?
We look for HOPE; and we see a star shine bright
God’s promise of HOPE from Jeremiah 33:14-16: — “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
We find Your PEACE; in a still and silent night
Zechariah’s song of hope for peace to the Christ child from Luke 1:76-79:
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of PEACE.
We search for JOY; and we hear the angles sing
To those who live as exiles from home in a dark time, to those enslaved as exiles due to others’ oppression, to those who are sin’s exiles from their best God-promised selves, the Lord speaks the JOY of good news, from Zephaniah 3:14-20 (Israel’s Joy and Restoration)
Jesus is coming, sing with JOY! Joy is a word we see and hear everywhere at Christmas. Joy to the world is the message of the season. Joy is the theme of life in Jesus the Christ.
We find Your LOVE; blessed Christ, the newborn King
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his LOVE; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Unto us a Son, is given unto us a child is born
Child of HOPE, and PEACE, and JOY, and LOVE
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:2-7
Our Advent Season Worship Services
11/29/2020 – 1st Sunday of Advent – HOPE
12/1/2019 – 2nd Sunday of Advent – PEACE
12/13/2020 – 3rd Sunday of Advent – JOY
12/20/2020 – 4th Sunday of Advent – LOVE
12/24/2020 – Christmas Eve
“The Advent season is that time when we seek to, in a manner of speaking, mute our memory of what has already happened, that we might brighten our joy that it happened. We leave the already of His advent to taste the bitter of the not yet. We, in short, go back, that we might look forward to His coming.” – R. C. Sproul
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes – and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger
“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.” – Mother Teresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season
The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is far too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart. – Anonymous
“The star of Bethlehem was a star of hope that led the wise men to the fulfillment of their expectations, the success of their expedition. Nothing in this world is more fundamental for success in life than hope, and this star pointed to our only source for true hope: Jesus Christ.” ~D. James Kennedy