Light of All Lights

“Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”  Matt. 1:20-23

On Sunday the Advent Season formally began. Advent is at it core the Latin word for “coming”(with a hint of anticipation! )…and since we are on this side of the cross we aren’t looking for His first coming, today, we are looking forward to the 2nd Coming of Christ with great anticipation. So consider these thing:

Who has time to celebrate Advent? There is so much to do this time of year…not enough time to get it all done. But what “all” is ultimately important especially for our children…and our own hearts as we teach our children about this time of year.

But taking time is the point. Advent takes time. It cannot be microwaved, it cannot be compressed into 24 hours, and it cannot be sped up to the bustling speed of our daily lives. Advent is slow on purpose, because the slowness of the celebration mirrors the slowly unfolding drama of the Advent of the Savior Himself in history. At the same time, it is for us to reflect on the slow illumination, candle by candle as the darkness gets pushed back, and day by day we are invited into the slowly unfolding Advent drama so that we live in constant knowledge that the Lord is Coming to fulfill His promise made to Himself in eternity past and to His people from every nation tongue and tribe…in every generation…in time and space.

The blessing of the advent wreath is meant to accompany the start of the Advent season. We light the wreath of candles in remembrance of the birth of Christ and the joy that His 1st coming brings to our lives, along with an anticipation of the return of Christ the King at His Second Advent. Thus Advent is more than simply marking a 2000 year old event in history.  It is celebrating a truth about God and His keeping His covenantal promise whereby His children and creation might be reconciled to God.  This is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation that we anticipate.

The wreath holds 4 candles, one for each week of Advent, with a center candle to be lit on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. The 3 purple candles represent repentance and a longing for the Savior/King. The rose/pink colored candle represents and reminds us of our need to have a glad anticipation, remembering the birth of Jesus as well as His shedding His blood on our behalf. The Nativity or Incarnation can never be separated from the crucifixion, because that was the purpose for which Jesus was born… “for He will save His people from their sins.” The white center candle is symbolic of Christ being the light of the world and being the center of our lives.

As Christ is the light of all lights it is natural to associate candles with Advent and Christmas. Candles glow radiantly in our homes, in our churches as reminders of the hope, peace, joy, and love that come from Christ, the Light of the world. As Christ is the light of the world and He has shed that light upon His own we too are the light of the world as we reflect His light, as the moon reflects the light of the sun and lights up the night; so Christians are the candles that God uses to make the world bright with hope, peace, joy and love. Each candle must pass on the light of our Lord to one another and then into the world. This is why we pass the light at our Christmas Eve service, as a reminder of what we should be doing all year round.

God Bless y’all in this Christmas Season!

In His Grip,
Pastor Mike

Picture of Mike Singenstreu

Mike Singenstreu

Mike Singenstreu is Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Victoria, TX.

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