Three Candles for Advent Joy!

title_three_candles_joyAdvent joy is looking forward to the birth of the Messiah.

Most people understand Christmas and joy–with the music and the parties and the gifts, it’s a happy time.

Advent joy, however, is about looking forward to joy to come.

It starts in the past.

Old Testament

Isaiah 9:2 prophesied about the Messiah God would send into the world someday. Looking forward from a grim time, Isaiah encouraged the Israelites:

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

God’s people had a long time to wait for the Redeemer of the world–the Messiah who would save their souls from sin and death through his death.

As mentioned before 400 years elapsed between the final book of the Old Testament and the first of the New. The people clung to their hope and faith the Messiah was Advent joycoming, but it had to get difficult.

Advent Joy–the first time

The virgin Mary was the first person to learn God was sending the Messiah–in nine months.

Imagine Mary’s wonder, awe and joy at the Angel Gabriel’s news in Luke 1:46-47:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

When she visited her cousin Elizabeth, even the baby in the old woman’s womb leaped for joy!

And once Jesus was born, the skies about Bethlehem exploded with rejoicing angels!

Advent Joy in the past

The church fathers understood the need to focus on the anticipated Christ Child‘s birth and when they arranged (for lack of a better word), the church’s calendar year with advent in mind.

While Lent is a six-week period of fasting and thinking of Christ’s death on the cross, Advent is a period of reflection and anticipation of Jesus’ arrival on earth.

Good news! The Lord is come! No more let sin and sorrow grow nor thorns infest the ground (an allusion to the results of sin that drove ADam and Eve from the Garden of Eden).

Jesus comes to make his blessings flow–far as the curse (sin again) is found!

Excellent reasons to rejoice–and the church fathers wanted us to celebrate!

Advent JoyAdvent Joy in the present

The Advent wreath with its four candles marking the Sundays leading up to Christmas, uses a pink candle on the third Sunday.

Here’s one explanation from the Church Home Network:

“When the season of Advent was instituted the church viewed it as a mini-Lent, a time for reflection and repentance (thus the purple). In so doing, the church adopted the first four candles of Lent and changed the third candle of Advent to pink in honor of the Lenten tradition.

“This is why we have a pink candle in our Advent Wreaths.

“To further heighten the sense of anticipation of Christ’s coming during Advent, the church named each candle in the wreath — the first being hope, the second peace, the third joy, and the fourth love (there are a number of other traditional names as well, though these are some of the most ancient).

“It has always seemed fitting to me that the pink candle is the candle of joy, the one that speaks to us with its twinge of color.”

Advent Joy to come?

Jesus will return someday in the future.

We’re all looking forward to joy on that day.


Advent Joy: past, present and to come. Click to Tweet

What’s the deal with a pink Advent candle? Click to Tweet

Advent started when Adam and Eve left the garden. Click to Tweet

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1 Comment

  1. LOVE the time-travel in this exposition, Michelle. You did a great job of setting Advent in its Holy (and hopeful) context.

    Your insight is awesome. Truly.


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