Dear members and friends:
We are halfway through the season of Advent. We started this season on Sunday, November 29, and it will end on Christmas Eve. Advent is the season in which we prepare for the coming of the Messiah and the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the United Methodist Church we celebrate Advent with the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath, which symbolize Christ’s virtues of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
The first Advent candle – blue (or purple) represents Hope or the expectation of the coming Messiah. It is called the Prophesy candle and recalls the prophets, particularly Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 9: 6 – For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The second Advent candle – also blue (or purple) represents Love and symbolizes Christ’s manger. This candle is called the Bethlehem candle. John 3: 16 – For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe will not perish, but have everlasting life.
The third Advent candle – pink this time – is called the Shepherds candle and represents Joy, signifying a transition from repentance to celebration. Romans 15: 13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
The last candle – blue (or purple) is called the Angels candle and represents peace. Colossians 3: 15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
On Christmas Eve we light all of the candles, including the center candle, which is white, and is called the Christ candle. This candle represents the life of Jesus Christ that has come to be the light of the world. John 8: 12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Just a little primer on Advent and some of the reasons why we celebrate Advent in the United Methodist church.
My Christmas wish for all of you is the following:
- Hope for the coming year, that you can remember that God has a plan and that His plan is good.
- Love – no matter what our differences are, please remember that we have been commanded to love our neighbor and we are all neighbors.
- Joy – in knowing and remembering that God loves us and that all of our sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
- Peace – may the peace of Christ be with you and hold it dearly in your heart. Without God in our lives, we are lost.
Merry Christmas everyone. May all your prayers be answered.
1 Thessalonians 3: 16 – Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
Pastor Deb Coulbourn