The Meaning of Advent

I wanted to write something meaningful for you.
My nature drives me to seek to know, so I did.
The cursed internet can also be good fortune.
Especially Wikipedia!
So this is what I learned…

Advent, a season of expectant waiting,
A preparation for the celebration
Of the Nativity of the infant, Jesus,
But also the expectation of His return.

Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux,
Christians have longed for the three comings of Christ…
In the flesh in Bethlehem.
In our hearts, daily.
In glory at the end of time.

Traditions, beginning as early as the 5th Century AD…

An Advent Calendar to mark the days from its first Sunday
Until Christmas Day.
4 weeks representing 4 seasons, 4 cardinal virtues.

A Nativity Fast:
A period of abstinence and humility
In the belief that learning to temper the body’s primary desire for food
Can temper other worldly desires, as well.
Emphasis is placed on the spiritual facet of a fast
To refrain from anger, greed, covetousness.

The Advent Wreath or Crown;
Evergreen leaves woven in a circular pattern to represent
The eternal life offered
By Jesus Christ.

A White candle in the midst of the wreath symbolizing
The Light of God coming into the world through
The Birth of Jesus Christ,

3 violet candles circling the Christ candle to symbolize

1 rose candle to call us to rejoice in

A simple wreath can mean so much…
A crown of victory.
A circular form like the sun and its annual traverse.
The green of an evergreen as life, hope, and the eternity of God.
Evergreen firs as strength.
Laurel greens as victory over sin and suffering.
The candles’ flame of light and hope in the struggle against darkness.
Holly as the crown of thorns.

4 candles as the ‘great stages of salvation’:

1st – Forgiveness of Adam and Eve
2nd – Faith of Abraham
3rd – Joy of David and his covenant with God
4th – Teachings of the prophets announcing the reign of justice and peace.

My days of marking Advent will carry much more meaning for me this season,
Having sought and found so much.
I hope each day of your Advent season
Touches your heart with the eternal light of God
Offered to us through the birth of Jesus Christ.

Susan Ceely Philips

4 responses to “The Meaning of Advent”

  1. Thanks so much, Susan. I’m sitting here this morning with the sun coming in and I am feeling hopeful. Have a blessed week.

  2. Susan, I knew this was written by you before I even got to the bottom. You have an amazing, recognizable, clear and detailed way of explaining things. It was great to be reminded and to focus on the meaning of all the Advent pieces.

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