Today is the fourth Sunday of advent, the last Sunday before Christmas Day. Advent in Latin means ‘coming’, and so the advent season is when we look forward to celebrating the coming of Jesus into the world.
You may have seen many churches light an advent candle on each of the four Sundays of advent, and a central fifth candle on Christmas Day.
Worship during advent is almost like a round up of all things that Christmas represents to Christians, with the candles representing the light of God coming to earth as the Christ-child.
Each of the four advent candles has a meaning
In the last few Sunday’s I’ve spoken about the candles of hope, peace and love, but today, the last Sunday of advent, is all about the joy that Jesus brings to the world.
Today seems a bit of an odd day to be talking about the ‘joy of advent’ after tough lockdown restrictions were announced here in Scotland starting from Boxing Day, and in much of the rest of the UK immediately – Not much joy around in many households today as their plans to meet with, and celebrate with family this Christmas have been turned upside down in just a few minutes, by our politicians.
This is not a political post, so I simply refer to yesterday’s announcements to highlight why I was a little uneasy posting about the ‘joy of Christmas’. Today’s post is about the true reason we celebrate Christmas, and so I now continue with the ‘joy of advent’.
Whenever someone tells you that they are expecting a child or you hear or see photos of a new born baby, it’s a joyful occasion – It cheers everyone, and lifts our spirits, as there’s just something about a baby that means most of us can’t help but feel joyful and happy about.
I’m sure even Mary, despite her doubts and fears about carrying God’s son, was happy when Jesus was born. So today reminds us of that joy which the imminent arrival of the Son of God, Saviour of the world, heralded, and reminds us to be joyful about what Jesus’ birth meant, and still means to the world.
Never more than in this current pandemic, do we need to be reminded there is joy to be found this Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.