Advent. The word provides a reminder to live in a state of anticipation, foretaste, expectancy, joy and hope. As October winds down, look around. Holiday decorations appear almost as quickly as Halloween disappears. Where’s the anticipation, the foretaste, the expectancy, the joy and hope in the waiting for Christmas Day to arrive? Most are so tired of it when it arrives, it’s thrown to the curb the very next day.
Nostalgic reminiscing of advent preparations in my home as a child echo deep in my heart. Adding one more candle’s glow to the advent wreath each week of December helped to build excitement, but also reminded us to prepare our hearts and not just our gifts and decorations during the month (not six weeks or two months) leading to the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
An advent wreath consists of three purple candles and a pink one. Often times a white candle representing Christ is added to the center, but the purple and pink ones represented the preparation and expectancy leading to lighting the white one. The color purple signified a time of reflection and repentance and also the color of royalty for the coming Jesus, the King of Kings. My favorite was the pink candle, lit on the third Sunday of Advent. The first two candles represent hope and peace. The pink one proclaims joy!
The third Sunday Advent is known in liturgical churches as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for rejoice. Look at this verse from Philippians and its imperative for us to find our joy in the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
Tingles of joy played on my heart and in my mind as that pink candle was lit. My childlike faith knew Jesus came and comes to bring joy into our world. It was my hope in a young life that often faced deep hurts and challenges.
Preparations for Christmas serve as daily reminders of expectancy, hope, and anticipation. Devotionals themed to place our focus on Jesus in the midst of the preparations keep our hearts and minds full of the joy of His nativity.
The Essence of Joy is filled with beloved aromas of Christmas. Twenty-seven devotions and nine selections of fun facts and activities to enrich their message fill its pages. You’ll be taken on a journey through the Bible, stopping to discover those favorite fragrances and fruits of the season found in its pages. Women of the Bible and women just like you and I encourage you to “Fill your heart with the aromas of Jesus’ nativity.”
I pray you continue to be surrounded by that joy in the days following Christmas. Maybe even leave your tree up through the New Year.
Copyright 2017, Lynn U. Watson