One small candle glows "Hope" amidst the dark reminding us to be prepared for His coming. For He will come again just as He said (Mark 13:26&27). Tonight as we light one purple candle, we pray that our hearts focus on Him, be filled with Him as we celebrate the season that commemorates His coming to earth as a baby. We pray that our hearts not be distracted by the commercialism that now drives this once sacred season. But that our hearts be driven even closer to Him as we gather 'round the Advent Wreath.
"Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace," reads the prayer from one Advent guide we follow. "Because of Him, we have hope. We anticipate Christmas with hope because of Jesus. We anticipate and are excited about His return."
We pray for friends and family, their needs, their health, their walk with the Lord, and any special prayer requests they may have made. Our hearts and lips lift up our own needs for the week ahead, and we are strengthened, reassured of His promise to be there with us always.
Strains of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" softly fill the kitchen as we close the solemn moment of prayer.
For four weeks the candles are lit. A purple one for Hope on the First Sunday, a purple one for Peace on the Second Sunday, and a purple one for Love on the Fourth Sundays before Christmas. On the Third Sunday, the sound of Joy rings out as the pink (or white) candle is lit. The waiting is half over. Hearts rejoice. The time is drawing close.
As often as we can gather for evening prayer during the week, we light the advent candle, pray, and review one of the suggested Scriptures for this focus of the year.
Typically the Advent wreath is made from fresh evergreens symbolizing eternal life. Being a circle, it reminds us of eternity and God's unending love for us. Candlelight reflects Jesus as the light of the world, bringing His light into the darkness of our lives making us new, giving us life and hope. It also reminds us that we are to be His light in this world.
When I was a little girl, my father would order a wreath of fresh evergreens each Advent from our local florist. The smell of pine filled our home. Warm memories stir each Advent as I recall my Dad's devotion to this time of the year.
After Dad passed away, I began to make Advent wreaths for our family from Christmas tree boughs. When Hubby and I married, we continued the sacred tradition. Then Oldest came along and we made some adjustments to the Advent wreath with a beautifully carved white wooden wreath displaying a saying to meditate on each week.
When we moved to Arizona, I began using a wreath of artificial greens. However, traditions stick with little ones, and we have had to return to the white wooden wreath that Oldest remembers from his earliest years. What was meaningful to me during my growing up years has had to give way to what he grasps as the season's traditions.
For more about Advent celebrations, see Ann Voskamp's article on the Jesse Tree. A free downloadable e book.
As we contemplate this holy and meaningful time of year, I give thanks for the Lord's multitude of blessings:
351) for Advent, a time to quiet my spirit and draw unto the Only One that matters
352) for celebrations that bring us close to family and friends at this time of year
353) for moist turkey, broccoli crumb casserole, ambrosia, and food abundant to delight the taste buds
354) for friend who dropped by Thanksgiving morning, just to say, "hi" and give me a hug
355) for oldest helping with the cooking while youngest worked during the day
356) for Hubby cleaning up behind me as I cooked
357) for Youngest's compassionate heart reaching out to a friend's family in need
|The guys relax and talk toys after dinner|
358) for Thanksgiving's delicious leftovers
359) for friends asking for prayer
360) for love gifts brought and tucked away
361) for cherry pie and more ambrosia~it will make it to a recipe post on Friday
362) for longtime friends coming to dinner--for Thanksgiving leftovers. It was like a second Thanksgiving filled with laughter, food, and fun in the ease of our friendship
372) Good Earth tea shared with my friend in our fancy teacups
373) All the dishes cleaned up
374) Hubby having a good time with his friend, talking guy toys
375) a cozy fireplace that encircled us with soul and body warmth
"I am the light of the world; Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 NIV
Are you walking in the light today?
Linking up with the Gratitude Community at Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience
Labels: Christian Inspiration, Gratitude Community, Traditions