The Light of the Advent
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
''Arise, shine for your light has come, no longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor the brightness of the moon give you light; but you have the Lord for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory'' (Isaiah 60:1a, 19)
The presence of light means so much to us especially in winter. When we enjoy the bright days of sunshine, the sun shines through our lives to families and those around us. When the days are dark and cloudy, we become gloomy and despondent. We forget that the sun is shining just above those clouds and is always constant. The light we enjoy so much is still available but it is just out of sight for the moment.
During winter and especially it seems during Advent, the darkness of shorter days and longer nights is dispelled with the light of candles. Candles are placed in windows as welcome. They are used on tables, the joy and warmth reflected in the faces of friends and family. Scented candles with the fragrance of bayberry, evergreen and cinnamon, are sometimes used filling homes with the wonderful perfume of the season.
Advent wreaths also are a way to use candles and may be constructed of many things. However; the use of candles and evergreens is the most used. A candle is lit each week keeping track of the four weeks of Advent. Historically, the Advent wreath started in Scandinavia where during the shortest days of the year, men lit candles on a wheel and prayed to the god of light that he would turn the wheel of the earth's orbit to the sun again and lengthen the days. Later the practice spread to Central and Western Europe. Due to the promotion of John Henry Wichern, a zealous philanthropist of the nineteenth century and founder of the Inner Mission of Germany, the Advent Wreath became an integral part of the evangelical Advent tradition throughout Northern Europe and in many other parts of the world. Eventually, the Advent Wreath became the practice of the Ch ...
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