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Advent Week Four: Love (adoration)

aisharebeccawritesDecember 20, 2020

In the final week of Advent, churches will light two candles, the candle of love and the Christ candle. As a reminder, churches light a total of 5 candles, one for every week starting on the first week in December, and leading up to the week of Christmas.  Four candles decorate the outer edges of the traditional wreath, and one white candle sits in the middle. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day they will light the candle in the centre. These candles remind us of the attributes of God we use during our anticipation of Christ’s coming: his first coming for Christmas and his long-awaited second coming. 

If you missed the first three weeks, I recommend you check those out first then come back here:

What Is the Candle of Love?

Let’s take a look into the symbolism of the love candle, also known as the Angel candle, this candle can represent purity.

  • Week One – The prophecies about the coming Messiah
  • Week Two – Bethlehem, Jesus’ birthplace
  • Week Three – The shepherds who came to see Jesus 
  • Week Four – The angels who proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds

Love plays a pivotal role in the Christmas story. Because of Joseph’s love for Mary, he didn’t leave her when he found out she was pregnant with what he thought was a child out of wedlock with another man (Matthew 1:18-19). Mary has a natural motherly love for Jesus, and ultimately in John 3:16, we see God’s love for everyone by sending his son for us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16
NIV

Jesus focused on preaching love throughout his ministry. Two of his greatest commands involve love: Love God, love your neighbour. (Matthew 22:36-40). 

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40
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Love is the greatest of all the virtues on the Advent wreath and encompasses Jesus’ entire purpose for being on earth (1 Corinthians 13:13).

What is biblical Love?

The Bible has a lot to say about love. Depending on your preferred translation, the word appears 100-300 times throughout Scripture. It makes sense. God is love (1 John 4). They know we are Christians by our love (1 Corinthians 13:1). Love sacrificed Jesus’ son for our sins. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 alone tallies off a number of characteristics of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
NIV

We cannot walk with Christ without it, and we cannot have the Christmas story without it.

Some churches, on Christmas or the Sunday after Christmas, will remove the other candles leaving just the Christ candle, depicting that the old has passed away and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). In other words, the law the Jews followed in the Old Testament, the sinful nature of man, all of it has passed away and Christ has brought the new covenant, a new promise of salvation.

Often, churches will make the Christ candle larger than the rest to show that Christ is the reason for the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love that we have. Jesus is the reason for the season.

What Is the Christ Candle?

In addition to the love candle, churches will light the white candle at the centre of the wreath on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. The white tends to symbolize Christ’s purity, showing Christ’s blamelessness. Not surprisingly, the Christ candle represents Christ and the role he plays in the Christmas story. Jesus brought light into the world through his arrival on earth as a baby.

Why is it important to love?

We cannot be Christians without Christ and without love, otherwise our works and our purpose on earth are for nothing. We need Christ and Christ’s love to share the Good News of salvation throughout the earth.

Christ connects all the Advent candles. Through him, we can have hope, peace, joy, and love. Without him, why have any of those things? Christ steps down into darkness to light the world (John 8:12). Because of him, we can be a light unto others, showing them the true meaning of Christmas.

So, today on the last day of advent and every day after, I wish you, hope, peace and joy, but most of all love.

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