Christians set aside the four weeks prior to Christmas day as a time for preparing themselves for the coming of Jesus into the world. This four-week period is called “Advent.” The word “advent” is a Latin term meaning “coming” or “arrival.” During Advent we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world as a baby in Bethlehem and anticipate the Second Coming of Christ into the world. Advent is a time for Christians to reflect with joy upon the arrival of Jesus in our lives as our personal Savior. A popular catchphrase of Advent is, “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” "Emmanuel" means "God with us."
Advent originally was of undetermined length. In the early Church it was primarily a time of worship and fasting for those scheduled to be baptized on Epiphany (January 6: Epiphany is a celebration of the Magi or “wise men” visiting Jesus). Much later Advent developed into the four-week period. We will light a candle on the Advent Wreath each Sunday during Advent to symbolize the various themes for the season:
1. Candle of hope (purple, signifying Jesus’ royalty)
2. Candle of peace (purple)
3. Candle of joy (pink, signifying joy)
4. Candle of love (purple).
On Christmas Eve we will light the white Christ candle, signifying the birth of Jesus. The season of Advent started on Sunday, 11/27/11.