The exciting season of Advent, or “coming,” is almost upon us. Martin Luther describes three times of Jesus coming: past (as a little baby), present (to us now), and future (in His second coming). This reminds me of Charles Dickens The Christmas Carol, where there are ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Although Dickens did not write his story to share the three comings of Jesus, he did share the change in Ebenezer Scrooge, to show the redemption and the hope of Christmas. Advent prepares us for the coming of Jesus as a little baby, as an offering for our redemption and hope. As we prepare to remember the coming of Jesus on Christmas, we celebrate Advent over four Sundays, often with an Advent wreath with five candles, four in a circle and one in the center. Each candle signifies a theme: the first candle is the Prophets’ candle and signifies the expectation of the coming Messiah; the second candle is the Bethlehem candle and signifies the experience of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem; the third candle is the Shepherds’ candle or may be known as the Gaudete (meaning rejoice) candle, either one signifies that Jesus’ coming is the reason to rejoice; the fourth candle is the Angels’ candle and signifies the messages the angels bring to earth. The central candle is the Paschal candle and signifies that Jesus is the Passover Lamb, who came to earth as an offering for our salvation from sin and death.
As we prepare for the wonderful season of Advent, whether through the lighting of the Advent wreath and the prayers, songs and Scriptures, or daily devotional, we all must face the Scrooge within us and be willing to open up to the Jesus of the present who comes to our hearts and changes us from within, as we ask Him into our lives.
Prepare this Advent with resources from Sola Publishing:
Booklet of Advent candle readings, Looking to the Manger, (Item # D-6020) by the Rev. Kristopher D. Madsen or Readings for the Lighting of the Advent Candles by Steven E. King. Both small booklets offer readings and songs for the season.
If you are looking for a more intense study about Advent, Prophecy Fulfilled: the prophets and prophecies foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ (Item # D-3020) by the Rev. Thomas H. Walker is an excellent resource. This study is designed to take a closer look at the prophecies relating to Jesus’ coming. For further information or resources visit SOLA’s website solapublishing.com.