Advent

Advent, it’s my favorite time of year! It’s my favorite because it can be an intentional time of slowing down while quieting the rapid pace that’s round and about. Glitter and glam doesn’t hold a candle to the real deal where tradition has us lighting our way in the wilderness, guiding us back to the Light.

Advent, a time of waiting it is. Anything good is worth waiting for. Healing, restoration, dreams, goals, and that which is to come finds us in wait and thus, Advent finds us waiting for the birth of Christ. It’s all rather extraordinary you know. Never a dull moment as if I need tell you.

Sometimes I’d settle for dull. Dull means not much is going on by way of news tantalizing the senses. It means the beat of the day-to-day drum is just ho-hum and that’s not all bad. Other times, the extraordinary comes by way of an unexpected illness or perhaps even death without resurrection this side of the veil. Sometimes it means what we thought we had, we never actually did and thus the grieving process begins. We cry from deep within…From whence does my help come?

Still, other times it’s as if the whole world was knocked off its axis…sending us into orbit. Maneuvering life is flat out too much and not only are we off center, but off kilter, feet no longer under us. Yes, truly, sometimes the seasons between the Advents of our lives are flat out arduous.

Lighting our way round to the season of Advent by way of an Advent Wreath can bring hope. It reminds us of that which is to come. Advent offers us a time to prepare for His coming to earth as a babe. The colors lit help tell the story of prayer, and the evergreens beneath it remind us of continuous life.

The first candle lit is purple, symbolizing HOPE. It’s the prophecy candle in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah who foretold the birth of Christ.

The second purple candle represents FAITH. It’s the Bethlehem Candle as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.

The third candle is pink and speaks of JOY. It’s called the Shepherd’s candle and the purpose is to remind us of the joy of His birth.

The fourth purple candle is one of PEACE. It’s called the Angel’s Candle reminding us of the message of the angels “Peace on Earth good will towards men” (Luke 2:14).

Perhaps, in the end, as it was in the beginning of each liturgical year, we need merely raise one lit candle as we join in continuous prayer:

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and…On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:10–14).

Throughout 2022 may we pray in kind for all mankind.  Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB

This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.

Photo: Advent candles in the Gathering Place, taken by Amanda Hackett