Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent Wreath Week One

The candle of Peace
First Sunday in Advent
November 28, 2010

Read from your bible:  Isaiah 2: 1-5

Today we light a purple candle.  Purple is a symbol for royalty.  It is special color because it is hard to get a truly bright and wonderful purple color to stay in cloth.  So it was expensive and saved for special people like kings and queens.  Many special people use their power to make life better for themselves and the people they like.
But the purple candle tells us that Jesus is a special person who uses his power for everybody, so that no one will have to fight for what they need. God’s creation is made so that there is plenty for everyone, if we use the power God gives us to share.  What do you have to share with others?
Here are the words we sang together in worship as we lit our church advent candle.  You can read them out loud or sing to the tune of “Away in the Manger.”

             Your advent, Emmanuel, now we embrace,
 your peace with all creatures,
your promise of grace. 
Your word is made flesh and your blessing you give,
that we too, in peace with all others may live.*

As you light the first advent candle, say together,

“Welcome Jesus, King of Peace!”

Why an Advent Wreath?

Can you imagine how it was in Europe in “the old days?”  Before there were furnaces to keep houses warm and electric lights to brighten dark days, winter seemed like a very long, very cold, very dark season. 
Families didn’t have refrigerators or canned food, or grocery stores, and so winter was also a time when people worried about whether what they had dried and stored would last until the days lengthened and warmed again.
People looked for signs of hope, bringing evergreen branches into their homes for the holidays, and lighting candles to symbolize the light of life, tenaciously burning in the dark and cold.
When people in Europe began to follow Jesus, they keep these traditions, knowing that Jesus, the Christ, is the source of life and hope.  They made advent wreathes in a circle to show that God’s love is with us all the time and everywhere.  “Emmanuel” is an old name (from Middle English) for Jesus that means, “with us is God.”
Christ followers named the candles for gifts that Jesus brings and lit them, one a week, as Christmas celebrations drew near, names like “Peace,” “Hope,” “Faith,” and” Joy.”
                 Your family can share this tradition too, lighting an advent candle each Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ presence in your home.  Remember to pray for all the other families in Jesus’ network of hope as they light the candles too!

*The words for our Advent songs were written by Rev. Steve Garnaas Holmes, Pastor of Bows Mills  United Methodist Church in Concord New Hampshire, and are used by permission.

These Advent wreath meditations were created by Rev. Karen L. Munson, Pastor of Readfield United Methodist Church © 2010 and may be copied with permission.