The Advent wreath is a traditional fixture in Christian worship, anticipating the coming of Christmas. It is a relatively brief, compact season in the church’s liturgical observance, consisting of four weeks. The wreath is adorned with four candles (typically three purple and one pink) which surround and illuminate a more prominent Christ Candle (white).
This year we will light Advent candles for hope, peace, justice, and joy. And each Sunday we will sing a hymn composed by Mary Parrott (1988), One Candle is Lit (Chalice Hymnal, No. 128). A sample verse:
Come surely, Lord Jesus, as dawn follows night, our hearts long to greet you, as roses the light. Salvation, draw near us, our vision engage, One candle is lit for the hope of the age.
Christmas is so much more than a date marking the end of the calendar year. It is a mood, a mystery, a spirit, a needed and timely reminder that God’s gift of love is with us, veiled in flesh. Indeed, the gift is the Christ, Mary’s Child laid in a manger. O wonderful Child, come quickly!
It has been said that Christmas thickens the air with alleluias. I surely hope so. And it is my prayer that we, tucked away in the uppermost northeastern corner of Indiana, find ourselves participants in cosmic praise. With the wise and the humble may we join the multitude of angels that sing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to all!
Merry Christmas, my friends!
Rev. John P. Gardner