The Advent Wreath

Sunday, December 2, 2001

Colossians 2:2 – My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. (NIV)

In the last ten to fifteen years the growing commercialism of Christmas has brought back an ancient custom we now see in our homes and churches during the celebration season. This custom is of lighting candles to give us a deeper meaning of Christmas.

A couple of years ago, I picked up a brochure in a Christian bookstore, and I discovered that the Advent wreath dates back to the pre-Christian era. During this time, candles were lit around a large wheel, in celebration of the gradual return of the long daylight hours.

The present form of the wreath illustrates a more important light, the light of our Saviour, which should continually shine in the face of all Christians.

Today's wreath remains circular, with three purple candles and one rose candle placed around the circumference, and a larger white candle in the center. The three purple candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays prior to Christmas day. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, symbolizing the good news of the coming of Jesus Christ, and the white candle is lit on Christmas Day to mark the birth of Immanuel.

As we look at today's scripture verse, we realize that Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, was encouraging these people to have a full assurance and a richer understanding of the mystery of Jesus Christ and His church so that no one would be lacking in knowledge. I trust that this season will open a new insight to each and every one of us as we meditate on God's word.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we pray that, during this Christmas period, Your children will not be leaning to the commercial side of the season but sharing the true meaning of Jesus Christ with our family and friends throughout the world. We also pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Amen.

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Bill Russell <>
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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