Sunday, December 2, 2007

The First Week of Advent- The Prophecy Candle

The Prophecy Candle is the first candle which we light today. It reminds us of the Old Testament prophets who foretold Christ's birth, especially Isaiah, from which comes our Scripture reading for today.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


Rick Calohan said...

This time of the year brings back so many wonderful memories of Christmas past. The season of Advent has held a special place for me as a time to prepare and reflect. I started attending church with my cousins at Westport Presbyterian, in Kansas City, Missouri. The minister always had a “high church” service; he always followed the three-year cycle of the lectionary. It was at this time of the year that the young children would have the privilege of being an acolyte. In 1979, our Sunday school class was at age to become members. For them it was by confirmation, but as for me, I became a member through baptism, which took place on December 9, 1979.

When I returned from the Army in 1992, the same minister was at Christ Presbyterian (PCUSA) in my old neighborhood on the Northeast side of Kansas City, Missouri. It would not be until around 1995 shortly after Easter that I started attending church again, becoming a member, an elder, a ruling elder, a Sunday school teacher. The beauty of the lectionary is the changing of the seasons of Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ordinary Time, Lent, and finally Easter for which our Lord defeated death and gives us everlasting life.

Advent is not only a time to light the Advent candles but to prepare for the coming of our Lord. After the children’s parable, the minister would select a child to light candle of that week. Explaining to young children the significance of each candle and the Lectionary in Sunday school was an added bonus. If I recall correctly we were taught that

• Week one was the Prophets

• Week two was the Angels

• Week three was Mary (Pink)

• Week four was the Shepherds

Other traditions explaining the weeks or candles exist such as Faith, Joy, Love, Hope or Prophets, Angels, Shepherds, Wise Men, or History, New Birth, Second Coming, Peace. However, whatever tradition the fifth candle or the center candle is white and is known as the Christ Candle.

Then on Christmas Eve, the Christ Candle; the light of the world as foretold by the Prophets, as the Angel proclaimed, as Mary received, as the Shepherds were made aware, that unto us, in the city a David, was born a Savior, Christ the Lord.

Some may think the lighting of Candles is a Catholic thing, or observing Advent is being Papist, but as for me, I know that a certain reformer in Germany and his church observed Advent, and his name was Martin Luther.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Frontier Forest said...

One of mine and Cheri's greatest joys of Christmas past was having been given the blessed opportunity to light the first Advent candle in December of 2005. So many wonderful folks at Redeemer have touched our lives during the short time we have been members.