The Chrismons… The Advent Wreath

11 A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.
The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of planning and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
He will delight in fearing the LordHe won’t judge by appearances, nor decide by hearsay.
He will judge the needy with righteousness, and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land. He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth; by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.
Righteousness will be the belt around his hips, and faithfulness the belt around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
    the calf and the young lion will feed together, and a little child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze. Their young will lie down together, and a lion will eat straw like an ox.
A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole; toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den.
They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,  just as the water covers the sea.

10 On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious (Isaiah 11:1-10, Common English Bible).

While not a Chrismon per se, the Advent wreath or sometimes known as the Advent Crown is a Christian tradition that marking and symbolizing the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The wreath is usually a ring of evergreen laying flat. The ring symbolizes God’s infinite love. The evergreen represents the hope of eternal life.

There are usually four candles around the outside of the ring or wreath. These mark each week of the season of Advent. One candle is lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas. Three candles are traditionally purple and one is pink. On the first and second weeks of Advent marks the lighting of a purple candle. The third Sunday is the pink candle and a purple candle is used again on fourth Sunday. In more recent times blue candles are used in place of purple candles. It has become common for all candles to be purple or blue. It is also possible, but far less common for the candles to be gold or even red.

Various meanings are given to the four candles. The most common and most traditional are hope, peace, joy, and love.

A white candle usually occupies the center of the wreath. It is lit during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services. It is the Christ candle.

Candles, once lit, remain lit during worship through Epiphany Day, January 6th.

The concept of the Advent wreath began in the 16th century among German Lutherans. It took about another 300 years for the current Advent wreath to take the shape it has today. During medieval times, Advent was a period of fasting. The pink candle, the candle of joy or happiness was lit on the third Sunday. It represented a break in the fast and was a time of celebration.

Advent is an important time of preparation. The Advent Wreath not only marks the time of Sundays of Advent, it adds beauty and additional meaning to the season.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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