December 1st marks the first Sunday of Advent. Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means ‘coming’ and was initially the translation of the Greek word parousia. Parousia, however, refers to Jesus’s second coming in power and glory rather than his first coming as a baby born in a manger among farm animals, which we celebrate at Christmas.
The four-week season of Advent now represents both a reminder of Jesus’s second coming and also a celebration of his first coming. With regard to both, Christians spend the season leading up to Christmas in a period of waiting, prayer, stillness, and sometimes fasting. This can be especially difficult in a season that is popularly characterized by rich foods and frenzied activities that are far from calm or restrained. But it is all the more reason to carve out a few minutes a day for some silence and prayer.
One of the most common ways to observe this season is by lighting candles, either on a traditional Advent Wreath, or just a single candle or votive. We created a short service of prayer that can be used when lighting your candle(s) during Advent, to help you find a bit of calm in your day and to recollect yourself in Christ amidst all the pressure to find your identity in your belongings and social engagements. We hope you will enjoy using this simple service during Advent in your own home and that it will bring you a greater sense of the hope we have in Christ.