This Sunday we begin the beautiful season of Advent. It is a time of waiting and hope. And boy do we need hope this year. I am so looking forward to Christmas this year, but first we have Advent where we wait and hope!
Waiting: because we wait for the newborn Christ who will bring light to the darkness of this world.
Hope: because this child is the promise of salvation of the Most High.
The Advent wreath is present near our altar for all Masses during Advent. Catholic.net gives us a beautiful catechesis on the origins of the wreath:
“The Advent wreath has its roots in pre-Christian customs of Germany. During the cold and dark December, they would gather wreaths of green branches and lighted fires as signs of hope in the coming of spring. But the Advent wreath is not a concession to paganism but on the contrary, it is an example of the Christianization of culture. The old now takes a new and full content in Christ. He came to make all things new… The wreath contains several symbols:
The circular shape: The circle has no beginning or end. It is a sign that God’s love is eternal, without beginning and without end, and also our love for God and neighbor that should never end.
The green branches: Green is the color of hope and life. God wants us to wait for His grace, the forgiveness of sins and eternal glory at the end of our lives. The most important desire in our lives should be to achieve a closer union with God our Father.
The four candles: Turns our thoughts to the darkness caused by sin that blinds man away from God. After the first fall of man, God was gradually giving a hope of salvation that illuminated the universe like candles of the wreath.
As darkness dissipates with each candle we light, the centuries were illuminated as we grew closer to the coming of Christ to our world. Four candles that are placed in the wreath and are lit one at a time during the four Sundays of Advent when we gather for family prayer.
My prayer is that all our families, as they decorate their homes for Christmas, may find a space for the Advent wreath and that it is lit every night when the family gathers for dinner. Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and our hope is that His light may come soon. COME, LORD JESUS, come quickly!
God bless you all,