First Sunday of Advent
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
For the next four weeks we open our hearts to God’s love as we prepare to welcome Christ into our lives and homes.
The Advent Wreath is a popular symbol of Advent. They actually have their origins in the folk traditions of northern Europe, where in the deep of winter people lit candles on wheel-shaped bundles of evergreen which gave them comfort during this darkest time of the year, as people looked forward to the longer days of spring.
By the Sixteenth Century, Christians adopted this practice for the Advent season in preparation for Christmas and the Second Coming of Christ.
The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life.
The four candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son.
The three purple candles in the Advent wreath represent the HOPE, PEACE and LOVE that Christ brings into the word. The rose candle, which is lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, symbolizes Christ’s joy.
Purple is the color of Advent. As you can see the church is decked out in purple cloth and I am wearing purple vestments. Purple symbolizes the royalty of Christ.
It also symbolizes penance. During the next four weeks we prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming by repenting for our sins, by renewing our lives through prayer, penance, and by sharing our blessings with others.
Here we’re offering two opportunities to share our blessings with those less fortunate. We have the Giving Tree at the entrance of the church which will assist the residents at Elderwood and Montcalm Manor.
We also have the empty manger in the sanctuary where we are collecting toys, bottles and baby clothes which will be given to Catholic Charities and Birthright in Plattsburgh.
The great English poet Alexander Pope once wrote: “What does it profit me if Jesus is reborn in thousands of cribs all over the world and not reborn in my heart?”
-Jesus is reborn in our hearts when we give people his hope by caring for those in need,
-give them his peace by turning the other cheek when we are provoked,
-give them his love by encouraging those who are feeling sad or tired,
-and give them His joy by encouraging and helping those who feel at the end of their strength, showing them that we care and that God cares as well.
When we share Christ’s HOPE, Christ’s PEACE, Christ’s LOVE and Christ’s JOY with others we will receive his hope, his peace, his love, and his joy in return.
Let us pray that we take advantage of these next few weeks to prepare our minds, hearts and souls to be cribs for Jesus when he comes again in his power and great glory!