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The Expressions and Symbolisms of Advent

Isaiah 7 14Advent is a time of expression and symbolisms. The word is a Latin word that means “coming.” About 4000 years lapsed between the creation of Adam and Jesus’ birth….that’s about 4000 years the Jews waited for the coming of the Messiah. Since Jesus’ return to Heaven, Christians have been waiting for his Second Coming. When Christians around the world observe Advent, they are both remembering the coming Messiah at His birth, as well as the expectation of His coming again. While it is a season to both reflect and prepare, it is a joyful time because it also proclaims and reminds us of God’s love which he expresses to us through the baby in the manger that would grow up and willing endure a sacrificial death on the cross, followed by his victorious resurrection. It is also a season of hope as we wait and anticipate the King of kings returning to earth again.

Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, beginning on the Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd every year. Many families make or purchase an advent wreath. The circle of the wreath is a symbol of God’s unending love for us. The evergreen leaves on the wreath are a symbol of our eternal live. Four candles placed in the wreath represent the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas

Advent-candles-wreathThe wreath, because it is a circle, symbolizes God’s never-ending love. The wreath, because it is green, symbolizes life. An Advent wreath contains three purple candles representing the four Sundays leading to Christmas. Purple is used to symbolize that Jesus came from the royal line of David and that He will come again as King of kings. Each candle represents various aspects of the waiting experience. The first candle is the candle of hope. The second is the candle of love. The third is the candle of joy. The fourth candle is pink and is lit on the fourth Sunday. It represents peace. Many people place a white candle in the center of the wreath to symbolize Jesus and is known as the Christ candle and points to Jesus being the Light of the World. The candles are lit in progression throughout the Advent season, adding one each Sunday, with the Christ Candle being lit on Christmas Day as we rejoice in His promise of long ago was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus and as we look forward to the fulfillment of the promise of Christ’s Second coming.

In 1745, Charles Wesley’s Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus was published. The words to this Advent Hymn perfectly portray the season of Advent and expresses the sigh of longing we feel for the day of His coming again.

  1. Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.

  2. Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King, Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring. By Thine own eternal Spirit Rule in all our hearts alone; By Thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

If you are interested in leading your family in a family worship through the Advent season, you will find a detailed Worship Service for Families here along with more detailed information about Advent.

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