TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: John 8:12
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
We are now officially into the Advent season for 2018. “Advent” is from the Latin “ven,” which means “to come.”
The wreath of four candles, representing the four thousand years before Christ’s birth, is no longer completely dark, as the first candle has been lit. Likewise, the world was no longer dark, as Jesus came into the darkness as the Light of the World.
Advent was first mentioned at the Council of Sargossa in the 4th century, and today is the marking of the four Sundays before Christmas.
This first candle, HOPE, signifies the hope the world felt as they waited the Messiah, and the hope we feel as we await His return. As we light it, we are filled with expectation.
Traditionally, the Advent wreath is blessed at the beginning of the season. Here is one blessing:
Leader: The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.
All: Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
Leader: Today we begin to prepare, through prayer and works of charity, for the coming of the Lord at Christmas. Let us ask God’s blessing upon this wreath that we will use to mark the days until the Lord’s coming.
(Pause for silent reflection.)
Leader: Let us pray… Father of all creation and Lord of light, bless our wreath of evergreens and candles. Be present among us as we come together to celebrate in Scripture and prayer the coming of Christ. May our hearts and minds reflect the lights of these candles, that Christmas will find us joyfully ready to receive the Savior, Jesus Christ.