Weeks of Advent

Week 1 – The Prophet's Candle, symbolizing Hope

From the very beginning of the Advent season, the Church recognizes the fact that Jesus has already been sent by the Father and incarnate of the Virgin Mary.  This acknowledgment of the Emmanuel – God with us – does not negate the meaning of the season.  In the busyness and mesiness of our lives, prophets of the Lord like Isaiah remind us the "not yet" of the Advent season, the "not yet" of our lives.  So let us use the words of Isaiah to remind us that the Advent season calls us to prepare our hearts so that the Lord's house can once again be established and we can walk in the light of Christ.

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established
as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
-Isaiah 2:1-5

Week 2 – The Bethlehem Candle, symbolizing Faith

During the Advent season, hope in the coming of Christ gives way to the faith that he has arrived and the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Nevertheless, we still need to prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts. The raw and bold faith of John the Baptist should motivate us to repent (baptism of repentance) and be ready for the forgiveness that is brought about by faith and baptism into Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!
-Matthew 3:1-2

Week 3 – The Shepherd's Candle, symbolizing Joy
The third Sunday in Advent is marked by the color rose and the title "Gaudete Sunday."  Gaudete means "rejoice!" in Latin and sets the tone of the third week as we are shifting from the repentance symbolized by purple toward the joy symbolized by rose.  So as the season of Advent is a little more than halfway over, we can look forward to the continuous joy that the Lord brought us with His birth and will bring to us eternally when He comes again.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
they will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.
-Isaiah 35:10

Week 4 – The Angel's Candle, symbolizing Peace
At last, Jesus is here! Peace on earth! Just as the angels gave a message of peace to the shepherds, so too should we feel at peace with the news of the imminent birth of Jesus given by the Angel Gabriel to a scared Joseph.  Joseph overcame his fears and insecurities being the earthly father of a heavenly child; in a similar way, we are encouraged to do the same knowing the peace and love he experienced with Jesus will be our peace and love as we experience salvation in Christ from our own sins.

do not be afraid….
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 
because he will save his people from their sins.

-Matthew 1:20b, 21

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