By Watera Atai,
Christians across the globe have been asked to keep their candles of burning ahead of the Advent season.
“During this #Advent Season, let us ask the Lord to help us keep the lamp of faith alit in our lives, to be prepared to receive him, and that he fill us with peace and joy.” Pope Francis I
The Pope made the remarks through his Twitter handle in a message to the faithful ahead of the Advent season.
In the weeks before Christmas, churches around the world celebrate Advent—a season of reflection and preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. Candlelight Advent wreaths are put inside churches to signify light in the dark days of winter.
In traditional church, advent serves as a countdown to Christmas when Christians honor the birth of Jesus Christ.
In Modern church, advent is now considered the first season of the liturgical year, the church’s annual cycle of feast days and Scripture readings.
Much like their ancestors, modern Christians see it as a season of preparation in honor of Christ. Advent is celebrated on four consecutive Sundays, beginning on the Sunday closest to November 30 and ending on December 24, Christmas Eve.
Each Sunday has a traditional meaning and prayers and readings assigned to it; they represent, in order, the Christian virtues of love, joy, hope, and peace. For believers, Advent represents a multi-faceted period during which to prepare for the birth of Christ, celebrate faith in and conversion to Christianity, and anticipate the eventual resurrection of the son of God.
The season’s dates vary from year to year. In 2021, Advent begins on Sunday, November 28, and ends on Friday, December 24.
The Advent wreath
Considered a season of light in the dark apex of winter, Advent is symbolized in the church by a candlelit evergreen wreath. In 1838 Johann Wichern, a German Lutheran pastor, began using this wreath to help his congregation count down the days until Christmas.
The modern Advent wreath has four candles. The first two and the fourth are purple, Advent’s traditional color. The third candle is pink, representing the halfway point of Advent and the joy of the coming holiday.
Christians traditionally pray, sing, and light an additional candle on each Advent Sunday until all of the candles are lit on the fourth Sunday. A fifth, white candle known as the Christ candle sometimes sits unlit in the center of the wreath; it is only lit on Christmas Eve.
This year’s Advent season begins tomorrow Sunday 27th November, 2022 and will end on December 24.