This year, the season of Advent begins on the 2nd December. The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” During this time, Christians focus on the "coming" of Jesus Christ as Messiah. We prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth through prayer and reflection. We contemplate not just the First Coming of Jesus in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem, but we also anticipate His promised Second Coming in glory at some point in the future. Advent is about putting the Christmas message into its full context; that of the birth, death, resurrection and return of Christ the King. As such, Christmas is truly a season of hope; hope in the words of the angel - “peace on earth among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:14, NRSV) 

In our recent Chapel services with the students, we have been focusing on the season of Advent. We have been explaining the significance of Advent as well as that of the Advent wreath. We have explained that the Advent wreath candles will be lit progressively each week leading up to Christmas – starting with a single candle burning on its own on the first Sunday of Advent with an additional candle being lit on each of the weeks of Advent. The candles serve as signposts for us all to pause and reflect. Each candle has its own symbolism; hope, peace, joy and love. The white candle at the centre of the wreath is the Christ candle. It is lit on Christmas day, reminding us of the birth of our Saviour Jesus who referred to himself as the “light of the world.” 

The journey through Advent is a gift that enables us to set time aside every year to focus our minds spiritually as we reflect on the birth of the Christ Child. Sadly, many people miss the real significance and meaning of Advent and Christmas because these next weeks will be full of preparations in the form of presents, food shopping, and arranging the traditional family get-togethers. I encourage you to take a little extra time this Advent to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.  

Enjoy the season! Have fun preparing for the celebrations of Christmas Day, but don't forget the most precious Christmas gift of all …

“Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

I wish you a deeply meaningful and blessed Christmas!

Reverend Dave