Christmas Advent Schedule for 2019:
- December 1st: Hope (purple or blue candle)
- December 8th: Love (purple candle)
- December 15th: Joy (pink candle)
- December 22nd: Peace (purple candle)
- December 24th: Christ (white candle)
WHAT IS ADVENT?
In a season of holiday haste and hustle, Advent calls us to slow down and prepare. In a world of darkness and violence, the church proclaims a message of light and hope. In a world of division and fear, the coming of the Christ child reminds us of the healing power of love.
The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the church year for Christians. The season proclaims the comings of the Christ—whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, and whose return in final victory we anticipate. Each year Advent calls the community of faith to prepare for these comings; historically, the season was marked by fasts for preparation.
During Advent, we prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for and need of forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both Christian tradition and on the church calendar, the Christmas season lasts from sundown on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) through Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 6). This is sometimes referred to as “the 12 days of Christmas.”
WHEN IS ADVENT?
Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays. Advent begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. If Christmas comes on a Sunday, Advent may begin on the last Sunday of November and last four full weeks.
WHAT IS AN ADVENT WREATH WITH CANDLES?
The Advent wreath began in the time of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther. While the Advent wreath with its four candles did bring light to churches, it was not to illuminate the interior as much as to symbolize the coming of Christ. The glow becomes brighter each week with each added candle. During each Sunday of the Advent season, focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
Current traditions, three candles are purple for Hope, Love, and Peace (Hope can also be a blue candle), one candle is pink (or rose) for Joy. The Christ candle (fifth candle), white in color, and placed in the center of wreath, we light on Christmas Eve reminding Christians that Jesus is the light of the world. The order and exact wording vary among churches, but the wreath continually reminds us of whom we are called to be as followers of Jesus.