Advent / Leadership Scholars / young Baptists

What is Advent?

By Jiquan Davis

Jiquan Davis

What is Advent? According to The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide, Advent is the period of preparation before his birth on Christmas Day. It begins four Sundays before Christmas on Advent Sunday; the date varies depending on which day of the week Christmas falls. Advent is a word with Latin roots and means “coming.”

We, as Christians, use this time to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. It’s also a time of repentance and meditation while anticipating Jesus’ second coming.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, there are candles lit. On the first Advent Sunday, candles are lit in churches. Some churches have an Advent Wreath, a circular wreath of holly with four candles around the edge and a fifth in the center. The candles are lit one by one as the weeks pass until the central candle is lit on Christmas Day. Many families will have Advent calendars with little doors to open each day, leading up to Christmas. Christmas scenes are depicted, and the last entry opened on Christmas Day.   

In time with CIVUD-19 and Advent season, we have a lot to be thankful for and look forward to in the next year and the rest of this year. This year as we look forward to Christmas, we can not do Advent in the traditional ways.

For some churches, they are not meeting in person where they can light the candles and worship God and look forward to Christ’s birth as a church family. The church has to look forward to this season the whole year because this is the church year’s first event. With the start of the church year being so different and not meeting in the church buildings for older churches has pushed the church to do new things. Like online services, where the members can watch after it is posted, which breaks up the church family into smaller groups or into family groups. The church has become a place where people can’t meet traditionally.

As the body of Christ, we share the good news of Jesus’ first coming and that hope of His second coming to the world. Jesus is the light of the world that why we light the candles to show Jesus as light. The closer we get to Christmas, the more candles are lit. The light from the candles is the light of Jesus in our lives that we should share with the world today.  

With each candle, there is a theme. The first candle is hope. The hope of something Good coming in the next year. Just like the time between the old testament and the new testament, the people in this period. In that time, the people had to hope for God to speak and for the Messiah to come. That hope is what we have today. The hope that Jesus will come again.

The second candle is the Preparation candle or candle of peace. This candle makes us look forward to the Birth of Jesus. In the time of Christmas, we attend to rush to buy gifts for the people in our lives and the ones we love, and we forget about the love and coming of Jesus.  

The third candle is the candle of joy—this the pleasure of the coming of Jesus.

The fourth candle is the candle of love. The Messiah has and will come in love and righteousness. The angels filled the sky with the essential news of love.

There is a fifth candle lit on Christmas. The fifth candle is called the Christ candle. This candle stands for the purest of Jesus Christ. This candle also reminds us that we should look to Jesus because he is the light of the world and should be the light of the world to help others know Christ’s love.

As we are in Advent, we should look at the world around us and know that there is still the love, the light, mercy of God around us. So that we can show that to the world as we look forward to the birth of Jesus.  

Jiquan Davis is a CBF leadership scholar pursuing his master of divinity at Gardner Webb University School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, N.C. He serves as the intern/associate campus minister for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina at Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina-Asheville.

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