Easter, Christmas, Lent? Do you have a favorite? Mine is Advent. It is only 4 weeks long, but it is a season of hope and expectation. And the 12 days of Christmas follow right after. The hymns of the Advent season are some of my favorites: Awake, Awake and Greet the New Morn, On Jordan’s Banks, and the meditative O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Plus, we get to light more candles.
The Advent Wreath holds 5 candles: one for each of the weeks of the season and one for the celebration of Christmas. The candles have many names. Some call them the Shepherd, Angel, John the Baptist, and Bethlehem candles. Some call them the Faith, Hope, Joy, Love candles. And there are others as well.
This year the Worship and Music Committee and I thought it would be acceptable to use a little reverse psychology in our Advent Wreath candle names. What do you think of the Judging, Complaining, Worrying, and Resignation candles? The thought being that they represent our sometimes-automatic response to life and to other people. Of course, we will also talk and sing and pray about the antidote as well:
Judging – Love, Complaining - Joy, Worrying – Peace, Resignation – Hope.
Why are we being counterintuitive like this? Well, I think it helps us to remember what Advent is about. It may also help us change. This time of year can be difficult, for any number of reasons. So, when you may catch yourself complaining or worrying, it just might help you to remember what God offers us at times like this. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun, if you were talking to a friend or neighbor, to say, “We lit the Complaining candle on our Advent wreath on Sunday.”
What will you be doing differently this year than you have in the past? Are you doing away with or changing some of your family traditions? Let me know via email if you care to share: firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you this Advent as you prepare your house for Christmas and as you prepare your heart for Christ.
peace to you,
Pastor Bob Albing