Advent. The word simply means “the coming arrival.”
As far back as the fourth century, Christians began celebrating the “coming arrival” of Jesus by intentionally remembering the coming of Jesus as well as celebrating his anticipated second coming. This is where we get the celebration of Advent, which traditionally lasts five weeks — four before Christmas and the fifth actually being Christmas.
Advent is a season rich with symbolic meaning. All the components to an Advent wreath have specific meaning.
The lit candles are blue, recognizing Christ’s deity.
The center white light affirms that in Jesus, there is light in the world, for he said he is the light of the world.
Each week a new candle will be lit. The greenery around the candles represent hope, a sign that winter will end and spring will come — a symbol of God making new life.
The circular form of the candles means that God has no beginning and no end — he has been, is now, and ever shall be.
Many have grown up as part of a church that celebrated Advent, yet they have never grasped its full meaning — it’s just another stuffy church tradition. This is not so. Advent is a time to recapture the anticipation of Christ’s first coming and the excitement of his second coming.
All of our hope is in Jesus, yet we also live in a time where that concept is increasingly difficult to grasp. To truly live out our hope in Christ, we have to sift through our holiday “bustle” and be intentional about carving out time to revel in this anticipation and excitement of Jesus’ birth.
This is precisely why we need Advent — and need it now.
Remember that this season — in the midst of the busyness and distraction, when the haves and have-nots are so visible — we will revel in the promise, preparation, rejoicing and wonder of God, crammed into a womb and born in stray poverty.