Posted by on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Under: Vicar's Monthly Letters
Although carols on Classic FM, decorations and festivities in our schools, shops and offices are telling us that Christmas is here, the bulk of December falls within the season of Advent – a time of preparation for Christmas. Many churches during this season have an Advent Wreath. This is a ring of four red candles around a central white candle, usually decorated with holly and ivy. The first candle is lit on Advent Sunday, and an additional candle is lit each Sunday, until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, when the central white candle is lit.
There are several traditions about the meaning of each candle, but the one most commonly accepted is:
The first candle represents the Patriarchs
The second candle reminds us of the Prophets
The third candle represents John the Baptist
The fourth candle reminds us of the special role of Mary
The central white candle symbolises the birth of Jesus, the light of the world.
In this way, each of the four candles reminds us of those who had a special part to play in preparing for the coming of Christ. It also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the part we are called to play in helping each other to prepare in a spiritual way for welcoming Christ afresh into our lives through our celebration of his birth. Abraham, David and the other Patriarchs were obedient to their call; the prophets spoke out against injustice and pointed towards God’s way of doing things; John the Baptist was not afraid to appear different to the rest and to challenge individuals to make a personal commitment; Mary humbly offered to serve God in response to his call.
What might God be calling us to do this Christmas? Is there an injustice or a need where we can help to bring his love? Is there someone we can encourage to make a commitment to faith? Are we prepared to offer ourselves fully in God’s service in response to his call? In answering these four questions as we prepare for Christmas, may God working in our hearts help us to share his peace and joy within the life of our homes and community.
Wishing you many Blessings at Christmas and for the New Year
Revd Jonathan Hall