Advent Season is upon us!

Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting
and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy. Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of time.
The word “advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly of something having great importance. Advent marks the beginning of the church year. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. When Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is the last, or fourth Sunday of Advent.


At Epworth UMC we will celebrate with the use of an Advent Wreath. Set on the branches of the wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. In the center of the wreath sits a white candle. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.


On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.


Each week on Sunday, an additional Candle is lit.
Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by the Devil. However, different Christian denominations calculate the forty days of Lent differently. In most Western traditions the Sundays are not counted as part of Lent; thus, the period from Ash Wednesday until Easter consists of 40 days when the Sundays are excluded. However, in the Roman Catholic Church Lent is now taken to end on Holy Thursday rather than Easter Eve, and hence lasts 38 days excluding Sundays, or 44 days in total.


This event, along with its pious customs are observed by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans. On the second of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger.

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy.

The fourth and last purple candle, oftentimes called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

Truly, there is so much more that can be said about the Advent Season – I hope and pray you can join us as we celebrate this very special time of year!


On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is traditionally lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

Celebrating with an Advent wreath during the weeks prior to Christmas is a great way for Christian families to keep Christ at the center of Christmas, and for parents to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.

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