Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! – Philippians 4:4
I very much love the Advent wreath.
There is so much symbolism to it; its circular shape is meant to represent God, the Creator and Preserver of all things. God’s love has no beginning and no end; it is eternal.
There are four outer candles, each one representing one week of Advent. At the beginning of each week, one of the four candles is lit.
The lighting of these candles symbolizes the light of Jesus, slowly but surely, overcoming the darkness. The closer we get to Christmas, the more light there is in the world. On Christmas Day itself, the candle at the center of the wreath is lit in addition to all four of the exterior candles. This central candle, also known as the Christ candle, represents Jesus who we as Christians believe to be the Saviour of the world; the pure light that once and for all eliminates all darkness.
He makes right all that is wrong with the world.
Yesterday we lit the third of the four outer candles on our Advent wreath. It reminded us that Christmas is drawing nearer. The light of this third candle comes even closer to completely driving the darkness away.
This third candle represents ‘joy’.
In the advent wreath, the first two candles are purple, a colour of lament representing that everything isn’t right with the world. The third candle is pink, representing the blending of the purple candles of lament with the pure white of the Christ candle. ‘Joy’ week is meant to be a time when we come up for air, to take a breather as we lead into the home stretch, taking in the moments of joy that we see surrounding us during this season.
And there is much to be joyful about, even in the midst of so much pain:
-lives are being improved; including our own.
-friendships are forming and deepening.
-some people are finding appropriate housing.
-families are being reunited
-people are getting their lives back
So as we continue our march toward Christmas, let’s rejoice and keep on striving to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.’
Lord of all joy,
We thank you for the gift of your son Jesus, who came into this world to teach us a new way to live.
A new way to love.
A new way to forgive.
A new way to experience joy.
You did bring joy to the world.
Help us to imagine and live for that day when we all feel your joy.
We pray for an end to sadness, loneliness, depression.
Break into the depths of our hearts, into those most broken and vulnerable places, to bring hope and joy in those darkest corners.
We long for that day when you finally return to bring eternal joy to the world once and for all.
Let Heaven and nature sing.
Come Lord Jesus.