Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas season and the Church year for most Western churches. The word “Advent” means “arrival” or “coming” in Latin and represents the approach of Christ’s birth and the awaiting of Christ’s second coming. It is comprised of the four Sundays before Christmas day, starting on the Sunday closest to November 30th and ending on Christmas.
For Christians, Advent is a time of reflection about the amazing gift God gave to us in the person of His Son who came to live among us on earth. It is also an opportunity to restore Jesus to His rightful place as the center of our holiday celebrations.
The prevailing themes of the Advent season, and the symbolism behind activities churches and families share, are expectation and hope, preparation and peach, joy and sharing, and most of all, love. These themes are represented in the candles of the Advent.
Each Sunday, marking a new week in Advent, a candle is lit (including candles from previous weeks) until we arrive at the white, center candle which stands for Christ. All Advent activities and traditions are grounded in the truth of Scripture, even though the symbolism and stories surrounding them have changed over time. The focus continues to be the great news that the Messiah was and is coming.