Advent begins with HOPE in the Lord

“All our hope must be placed in the Lord, because He is the one true God who created us with eternal love and redeemed us by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, true God and true Man,
who suffered and died for our salvation.”
  Sister Lucia of Fatima

The Advent wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season, is a traditional symbol of the liturgical period. (CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St Louis Review)

Advent begins a season of prayer, penance and sacrifice in anticipation of the coming of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Advent wreath is the sign of our faith in this truth. The four candles that are lit over the four weeks of Advent each represent 1,000 years, which together add up to the 4,000 years that humanity awaited it’s salvation, from the time of Adam and Eve to the birth of Jesus.

Christmas is celebrated during the darkest time of the year, so the contrast of the Light of Christ is even more brilliant on the earth. As we light a new candle each week, we dispel the darkness, making way for His coming into the world.  Our prayers and sacrifices throughout the Advent season help shine His light where there is none.

The first candle, which is the liturgical color of purple, signifying a penitential time, symbolizes Hope.  It is sometimes called the “Prophet’s Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation of the coming of God Incarnate to redeem the human race.

“Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you,” cries the Prophet Isaiah (Is 60:1).

In this first week of Advent, let us pray for the virtue of Hope and place our full confidence in the promises of Christ.

The Blessing of the Advent Wreath
(traditionally the night before the first Sunday of Advent)

Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R/. Who made heaven and earth.

Read Isaiah 9:1-2, 5-6; or Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; or Isaiah 64:2-7

Reader: The Word of the Lord.
R/. Thanks be to God.

Leader:   Lord our God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us,
he is the Savior of every nation.
Lord God, let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

The blessing may conclude with a verse from
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:

 

 

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