Advent is here! It is the season of anticipation before Christmas, as well as the start of the new liturgical year. Christians celebrate with Advent calendars, Advent wreaths, Jesse Trees, and – at least in my experience – many, many repetitions of “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”
In some churches, the four weeks of Advent are each given a theme: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. This first week of Advent, we celebrate hope:
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
God’s mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in the Lord.”
I need the Lord’s hope very much right now. Our world seems to be increasingly chaotic, frighteningly greedy, and profoundly unkind, and I sometimes wonder how much more we will stray from “loving our neighbor” as God commands. I see so much self-interest, so many people seeing anyone different from themselves as “other,” so little willingness to listen or to work together. Continue reading “First Sunday of Advent: Hope”
We had our monthly Religious Education family get-together at church this morning and made Advent wreaths with candle rings and fresh greenery. Barbara Harrison gave a lesson on the history of the Advent wreath: the greenery represents life, and the circle represents everlasting life and the eternity of God. The candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world; three are purple (the color of royalty but also of penance, reminding us that we should pray and prepare for the coming of the Lord) and one is pink for “Gaudete Sunday,” the third Sunday of Advent, when we rejoice that Christ’s coming is near. Quinland chose to make a wreath in class, although we have an Advent wreath already. Ours is rather different from those we saw today.
I got this wreath in Dublin when I was studying overseas in college. I liked the fact that it was ceramic, but I really liked that it was pure white with the greenery represented in a raised pattern.
Today is the second Sunday of Advent, so we lit two candles on our wreaths and blessed them together. Our family tradition is to light the candles, saying, “We light these candles to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.” We then read from one of the many Advent collections I have, and end with a rousing and clapping rendition of “Stay Awake!”
Q loves to snuff out the candles. I do not even remember where I acquired my Christmas candle snuffer, but I’ve definitely had it for her whole life.
That’s our Advent wreath tradition! Do you have an Advent wreath? Do you celebrate another holiday where you light candles? I’d love to hear about it.
- I’m grateful! for family and friends who joined me for the Muppet Movie, dinner, and some yummy Dulce de Leche bars (thanks, Nancy!) for a late birthday celebration.
- I’m lighter! I was a lector at Mass, went to Religious Ed, took a much-needed nap, got flour for Q for cookie baking, had a lovely evening with family and friends, and got the lights up on the tree.