This time of year, the word ‘Advent’ is everywhere. In addition, you can purchase advent calendars that allow you to countdown the days to Christmas. I recently bought boxes with 25 little doors and chocolate candies for my grandchildren. They will open a little door each night, eat a small piece of chocolate, and anticipate Christmas coming. In all honesty, they are counting down the days until they can open their Christmas presents. Consequently, I don’t think the tradition had anything to do with what the Christian Advent truly means.
As a young child, I remember unpacking purple and pink candles with a wreath on a table. However, as a child, I considered it another Christmas decoration. I knew my mom called it the advent wreath. But, we rarely used it, and I have yet to learn the purpose of each candle.
I hear about Bible studies and sermon series for the Advent season today. I sometimes participate in them. However, I mostly spend this time of year, like everyone else, shopping, decorating, and listening to Christmas carols. Therefore, as December begins and the Advent season is here, it would be fun to learn more about this tradition and how it intertwines with the fruit of the Spirit.
What is Advent
Advent is a term from the Latin word adventus, which means coming. The dictionary defines advent as “the coming of a notable person or event.” Originally, Advent was Christians’ way of anticipating Christ’s second coming, not the first, when he was born on Christmas.
The History of Advent
The Advent wreath and Advent season, being a pre-Christmas celebration, started in the 1800s in Germany. Immigrants from Germany brought the tradition to America in the 20th century. It traditionally contains four candles: three purple and one pink.
Advent Four Candles Meaning
There are a few different descriptions of the four candles and what each stands for. Some list them as hope, peace, joy, and love. Another listed hope, peace, and then love before joy. Likewise, a third description of the candles was hope, faith, joy, then peace. Each word references a part of the Christmas story. In addition, these exact words are included in the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, since Little Pot is a fruit-bearing vessel like us, we will examine these words about the Advent season. Each week, we will discuss a different candle.
The first candle – HOPE
This week is the first week of the Advent season. In a traditional advent wreath, a purple candle is lit. In almost every description, this candle represents hope. It is known as the prophecy candle. The prophets of the Old Testament promised a Messiah would come. Isaiah 9:6-7 foretells the birth of Christ. This prophecy was fulfilled on Christmas. There was hope that Jesus would come. Likewise, we must have hope that He will return just as He promised. However, biblical hope is not just wishing for something. It is having full trust and assurance in a loving God incapable of breaking His promises. Hope waits and is patient. It is full of self-control, gentleness, and faithfulness. Likewise, it exists within bad circumstances and trials.
Prayer for Advent Wreath
You are so good, and you never break your promises. I know that you promised to come and save people from their sins. You did that when you came as a baby on that first Christmas. Then, you died on the cross. Leaving Heaven to come to be with us and then die for us. Oh, how the people in the Old Testament must have anticipated the advent of your first coming.
Because you came and died for our sins, you now promise to come and live inside each of us. Thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit and growing hope, faith, joy, peace, and love through me. I believe in you and anticipate the advent of your daily presence in my life.
I also know that you promise to come again. You will one day return and reign forever. I anticipate the advent of your second coming, too. Please continue to give me HOPE.
Advent and the Fruit of the Spirit
The story of The Little Pot is about a potter growing fruit through the vessel he made. Our creator wants to grow the fruit of His Spirit through us too. Producing love, joy, peace, faith, and hope is all a part of understanding advent. (Galatians 5:22-23).
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