A devotional by Reverend Dr. Kevin Schwamb
The count down to Christmas has begun and retailers are using every opportunity to remind anxious consumers how many shopping days remain until December 25th. But, isn’t there more to getting ready for Christmas than finding that perfect gift and making sure it arrives on time?
The word advent means “coming” and the tradition of observing advent in the church originated during the 15th century. Historically, an advent wreath is used to encourage and assist the community of faith to spiritually prepare themselves for the celebration of Christ’s coming. Four colored candles are placed in a circle and one white candle, which is called the Christ Candle, is placed in the center. To symbolize the excitement leading up to Christ’s first coming, and the fulfillment of the words of the Old Testament prophets, an outer candle is lit each week on the four consecutive Sundays before Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve, the Christ Candle is lit to indicate that the long-awaited Messiah has arrived. In Galatians 4:4-5 we are told that “…when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (and daughters).” God’s perfect plan of salvation was fulfilled in history according to His perfect timing!
Celebrating advent is just one of the exciting ways for Christians to reflect on Christ’s first coming and to anticipate His second coming. It is my prayer, that when Christmas arrives this year, you will be completely prepared to celebrate it, but for all of the right reasons. So, let the count down begin!