Don’t Forget The Beautiful Season of Advent

In the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas I love the Advent season. This is the season the Christian church celebrates in the lead up to Christmas. It’s the start of the Church year and Advent Sunday marks the four Sunday’s before Christmas Day.

It’s a season of reflection and expectation. Advent is latin for “Coming.”

Hope

On each of the four Sundays of Advent, a candle on the advent wreath is lit. The first candle symbolises Hope.

Christmas celebrates the coming of Jesus as a new born baby in the most amazing circumstances. The Christmas story is full of hope. Hope for a brighter future, hope for times of peace, joy and love.

I can’t think of a better focus for the start of Advent. We all need the hope that Jesus offers.

“A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.” Oxford Dictionary 

While we might be enjoying a feeling of expectation about Christmas coming, good food, presents and catching up with family and friends, the candle of hope represents so much more.

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Peace

On the second Sunday of Advent Christians around the world continue to prepare for the joy ahead of celebrating the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. The second candle represents peace. The words below come from a beautiful carol, ” I heard the bells on Christmas Day”

It has a lovely melody and stirring words. It’s another of my Christmas Day solo pieces in years gone by.  Just reading the words conjures up wonderful memories of my Dad playing the organ for me, while I rehearsed at home in preparation for the Carol Service. Special times!

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Joy

On the 3rd Sunday in Advent, the candle lit on the advent wreath represents Joy.

When we think of chronic disease and pain it can be hard to imagine feeling a sense of joy. The Christmas message isn’t talking about a frivolous passing joy that comes from enjoying a moment. It’s talking about a deep joy that comes from knowing that God cares for us and despite how bad our circumstances are now, there is hope for a brighter future.

“The angels sang a message of JOY! “…the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”     (Luke 2:7-9)

Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent we light the candle representing love.

What an amazing gift of love that God should send His Son to give us hope, peace, joy and love. What amazing love that this baby born on Christmas Day, was sent to save us from our sins and give us the hope of eternal life.

What amazing examples Jesus showed us, while he walked on earth, of how to love others. Loving our neighbours as ourselves. Showing grace and mercy to those we don’t understand, those in need, those who need love.

This is the essence and beauty of the Christmas message. This is what makes the Advent season so special. It’s four weeks of expectation, anticipation and it helps us understand why Christmas Day is so worth celebrating.

Happy Advent…

with love xx

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”    (John 3:16)

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

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