So, here it is, Advent.
There is an old Greek proverb, “Well begun is half done.”
We are starting a whole new church calendar year, and we’re also starting to get ready for Christmas.
Advent is meant to help us keep our perspective. The point is to focus on what is important so that we can get ourselves ready personally and spiritually for Christmas and enjoy the feast even more.
During Advent, I’m reminded that Jesus comes into my life every day—in prayer in the Eucharist, in other people. Maybe I need to use this Advent to improve my relationship with Jesus.
I may also may need some reminding of the certainty that Jesus will come again to me at my death or in his return at the end of history—whichever comes first.
Almost everyone has a tendency to put things off. Advent reminds me of the journey home to heaven. Now is the time to attend to some of those things I need to do right now in preparation for the journey. Like taking care of any rifts in my family that have been going on for years. Or getting to know Jesus better through more conversations in prayer.
I don’t know on which day the Lord will come for me but I can’t start planning my journey to the kingdom on my deathbed. I need to start planning sooner. Like today.
—Exerpts from The Little Blue Book of the Diocese of Saginaw, 2019
The Four Advent Candles
As a Christian tradition, the wreath holds the four Advent Candles. The candles represent Jesus coming as the light in darkness. One Candle is lit each Sunday until all four candles are lit. As Christmas draws nearer, each candle brings a little more light into the darkness. Sometimes a white candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to symbolize that Jesus is with us. This can be referred to as the “Christ Candle.” Each of the candles lit before Christmas represent an aspect of preparation during the season of Advent.
Week One: Purple – The Prophecy Candle Hope
Purple is the primary color associated with Advent. Within the Catholic Church it symbolizes penance, preparation, and sacrifice. During the first week of Advent, we remember the Old Testament prophets who foretold of Jesus’ coming with hope and anticipation.
Week Two: Purple – The Bethlehem Candle Love
During this second week of Advent, we reflect on our lives and work on becoming betterversions- of-ourselves in preparation for Jesus’ coming. We remember the journey Joseph and Mary took from Nazareth to Bethlehem.