Humanity’s only hope is Jesus! Advent (Latin: Adventus meaning “Coming or Arrival”) is the season where Christians reflect on the birth of Jesus two thousand years ago on the first Christmas day; and look forward to the second coming of Jesus at the end of the age.
During the Advent season, the gospel message of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is traditionally presented in the form of an Advent wreath and the lighting of five candles symbolising the centrality of Jesus Christ together with the central gospel themes of love, joy, peace, and hope.
The Advent gospel themes encapsulate the love of God to restore a sinful, broken and hurting world back to the good and perfect creation that our Creator God originally intended (Genesis 1 and 2). The first coming of Jesus ushered in the kingdom of God that gives real joy and peace. The vision of this kingdom brings hope to a hopeless world marked by sin, greed, cruelty, wars, diseases, natural disasters and ecological havoc. Thus, during the Advent season, Christians look forward to the second coming of Jesus at the end of the age, where there will be a new heaven and a new earth, restoring creation to the perfect world and eternity with God. The new creation reflects the bliss of eternal dwelling with our heavenly Father.
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3.
This is the good news of the gospel that we cannot but tell!
The Advent gospel themes provide a simple and neat way to share the gospel. So! as one popular Christmas carol exhorts – Go! Tell it on the mountains! Over the hills and everywhere! Uh…, in our Singaporean context that would be Go! Tell it in the HDB heartlands, CBD, Orchard Road, food court, kopi-tiam and everywhere!
Please click on the Devotional below:
The Season of Advent
Advent is the ecclesiastical (church) season before Christmas when Christians prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. It is a spiritual journey that Christians take through passages of Scripture that point to the birth of the Messiah; to a reaffirmation that he has come, he is with us in Spirit and will come again in glory. It mirrors the journey of faith that Christians take as we look forward to our own destination, which is to be in his presence forever!
We observe Advent as a time of reflection and anticipation that Jesus has already arrived and look forward to that great Second Advent of the Lord!
Advent marks the beginning of the Church Year. It lasts for four Sundays, ending on Christmas eve.
The liturgical colour of Advent is purple. It is the colour of penitence and royalty. As the Church waits for Christ’s return, we reflect on our sinful state, and the world’s, with repentant hearts. We are thankful to Jesus for taking away the sins of the world when he died on the cross. We are now looking forward with joyful hearts to the return of Jesus, the King of Kings.
The Advent Wreath
Churches traditionally use an Advent wreath as part of their worship. It’s symbolism is useful in retelling the Christmas story. The circle of greenery reminds us that God is eternal, the Alpha and Omega without beginning or end, and also of the hope we have in God, of newness, renewal and eternal life.
The candles symbolize the light of God entering the world through the birth of Jesus. It reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect the light of God’s love and grace to others. The centre candle is called the Christ Candle. It is traditionally lit on Christmas Eve. Four other candles symbolise the central gospel themes of Love, Joy, Peace and Hope that the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, bring to the world.
How we could observe Advent
Decorating the wreath often brings much joy. The décor can be very elaborate or quite simple. There is no one correct way. There are ample online resources for DIY wreaths, including simple crafts you can do together with your young children.
For the four Sundays in the season of Advent, one candle will be lit at the beginning of our Sunday service, with the fifth candle being lit on Christmas Day. You can do the same at home with your family.
Week Two to Four – light the 1st and 2nd/3rd/4th candle and follow steps 2-4 Week and so forth
Christmas Eve or Day– light all candles, including the white Christ Candle and bless each other with a prayer.
There is no specific amount of time to let the candle burn, but do not leave it unattended.