Christian Advent

(Reposted from 2009.)

This blog is not financial in nature – just spiritual.

Advent is the time of the Christian calendar that is a time of mental and spiritual preparation (“waiting”) for Christmas – the anniversary of the birth of Jesus the Christ. Many churches have the practice of lighting candles during the four Sundays before Christmas and then, on Christmas Eve, lighting a fifth candle at the center of the wreath holding the other four. The fifth candle is always the Christ candle.

As I sat in worship yesterday and watched a couple light the first Advent Candle, I commented to my daughter, age 10, about the different symbolisms Christian worship has attached to these four candles. The most popular are the Christian Concepts:

  • Hope
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Love

But we also have the people associated with Christmas:

  • Shepherds
  • Wise men
  • Angels
  • Mary and Joseph

Another version is for the animals present on Christmas Day:

  • Sheep
  • Donkeys
  • Cattle
  • Camels

Yesterday I thought of a variation I’d never heard before – the cities in the Christmas narrative:

  • Nazareth – where Mary & Joseph were living
  • Bethlehem – where Jesus was born
  • Jerusalem – where Mary, Joseph, and the Magi passed through
  • Babylon – where the Magi came from

The church has five main functions:

  • education (see in teaching the Christian concepts),
  • worship (seen in the actions of the people at the nativity),
  • service (seen in the humble but important work by the animals),
  • evangelism and fellowship (seen in the cities where so many people live).

Here is a direct link from the purpose of the church directly to the Christmas story. But too many times we focus only on one aspect when the story is so rich with other details. As Christians we need to dig deeper into this story – God’s incredible story – to see the phenomenal nuances.

Lead On!