Advent: Season of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love
ADVENT comes every year four weeks before Christmas. Each week has a different theme to help people prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Advent comes every year four weeks before Christmas that is celebrated on December 25. It doesn't start on the same date every year, but it does end every year on Christmas Eve.
Advent is a two-fold celebration. It is a time when the focus is on Christ coming to the world the first time as a baby in a manger. This is to celebrate something in the past. The second focus should be on the celebration of the Second Coming of Jesus. This is to celebrate something in the future. Therefore the past and the future meet during Advent.
Even though the dates change for Advent, the themes remain the same for the four weeks. Some churches light a candle for each week of Advent. Most of the time, the candles are purple for each week and pink for the last week. Some churches choose to use red candles. A fifth candle is a different color that is lighted to end the Advent season.
Themes of Advent
It is interesting that three of the themes of Advent are also three of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. They are Peace, Joy, and Love.
Advent Week 1: Hope
The word "hope" is mentioned in the Bible about 129 times. In the Old Testament, hope means looking for or desiring something to happen. The first theme of Advent is hope because people should be hoping to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as well as waiting for His second return.
Most churches start the Advent season with the theme of hope, but they might use a different order for the other three themes.
The first week gives encouragement no matter how hopeless we think our situation is. Advent takes us back to the time when Jesus was born in lowly conditions. He wasn't born in a warm hospital with doctors and nurses taking care of Him and His mother.
The first week of Advent takes us back to that cold barn when Jesus was born and placed in a manger. It seems like a hopeless situation at the time, but it was part of God's place just like your hopelessness is part of God's plan for greater things.
You might be going through some things, but the first week of Advent should give you that hope you need to take you through the other three weeks.
Therefore, light the candle of hope in your heart because as long as you have a heartbeat, you have hope.
Advent Week 2: Peace
The word "peace" is in the Bible 429 times starting in Genesis 15:15 and continuing throughout the rest of the Bible.
Jesus left us an inheritance of peace when He left the earth. He said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid," according to John 14:27.
Even though peace is our inheritance, true peace can never be on earth in its fullness until Jesus returns because of the sins of the world.
During the second week of Advent, we should remember that peace is our inheritance. We should remember that we can have the peace of God that passes all understanding, according to Philippians 4:7.
Therefore, light the candle of peace in your heart because as long as you have a heartbeat, you should have peace.
Advent Week 3: Joy
The theme of the third week of Advent is "Joy." The Bible speaks of joy at least 165 times. God wants us to have joy in our lives.
Paul's Book of Philippians is known as the "Joy Book" because he based it on joy. He used the word "joy" or "rejoice" about 19 times in the short book of only four chapters.
"Joy to the World" is a popular song we hear only at Christmas time even though it is a song originally written by Isaac Watts based on Christ's Second Coming instead of on His first advent as a babe in a manger. When people sing the song, they think they are singing about his birth. Actually, they are singing about his Second Coming at the end of the age instead of his advent.
Therefore, we can sing the song all year long. So, light the candle of joy in your heart because as long as you have a heartbeat, the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Advent Week 4: Love
The word "love" is in the Bible about 310 times. Throughout the Bible, God taught on the subject of love. He taught us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. He taught us to love our enemies. The Bible has so many commandments about love because God Himself is love and He wants others to feel that emotion and display it all the time.
The last week of Advent has the theme of love as it takes us into the perfect example of love. According to John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Therefore, light the candle of love in your heart so you will be reminded to love not just as Christmas time but every day of the year.
- The Three Comings of Jesus Christ
A lot Christians are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. While it will be the second coming, the Bible speaks of three comings of Jesus. This article explains in detail.
- Three-Part Prayer of Jesus in John 17
John 17 includes the three-part prayer of Jesus. Perhaps this can be the format for our own prayers.