Is it Christmas yet? Not quite!

As a child, I really used to look forward to Christmas Day with incredible excitement. I don’t know whether this was because my birthday is on Christmas Day as well (I just thought I would slip that information in!), and so it was the only day to look forward to – for presents, of course! 

As a child, a day in the run-up to the ‘big day’ felt like a week, and a week like a month. I recall that I used to have a really difficult time getting to sleep on Christmas Eve – often thinking that I would never nod off, but of course, eventually, I did. I would then occasionally wake up in the early hours of the morning and check whether there were any presents at the bottom of my bed (I once sneakily opened one or two). Now, of course, it has somewhat reversed – the years pass by like months, the month like weeks and the weeks like days, and before we know it, it’s Christmas day once more.

The season of Advent in the church is designed for us to slow down and appreciate the run-up to Christmas (which should be a slow walk, if anything).The first Sunday of Advent this year is on Sunday, 3 December and marks the beginning of the Advent season. Traditionally, a purple candle is lit on the Advent wreath to symbolise the expectation and hope of the coming Messiah.

The theme of the second Sunday of Advent is peace. Another purple candle is lit, along with the first candle from the previous week, symbolising the increasing anticipation of Christ’s birth and the peace that he brings.

On the third Sunday of Advent, we have Gaudete Sunday, which takes its name from the Latin word meaning “rejoice”. This Sunday is marked by a pink candle being lit on the Advent wreath, symbolising joy. 

And on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the theme is love. The final purple candle is lit, along with the candles from the previous weeks. This marks the culmination of the Advent season, as Christmas is just around the corner.

In addition to the four candles on the Advent wreath, there is a fifth candle, which is white, in the centre. This candle is called the Christ Candle, and it is lit on Christmas Day to represent the light of Christ coming into the world.

The Advent season serves as a time of reflection, prayer, and preparation for Christians as they focus on the significance of the birth of Jesus and the hope, peace, joy, and love that he brings into the world.

May God richly bless you and your loved ones this Advent and Christmas.

Fr Rob


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