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Posts Tagged ‘Advent wreath’

A church member asked me once, “Pastor, what do the 4 Advent candles mean?” I might have said that there is nothing in the Bible about it as there is nothing about Advent wreathes. Nothing wrong about them and some good as a wreath is without beginning and end and so is the Lord, the four candles signify time, God entering time, the right time for us all.  I told the fellow member I don’t know and she rather dogmatically stated what they stand for… well, I forgot the answer.  The answer usually go along this route:  the Advent Candles  stand for  Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, or something like that.  Hope, peace, joy and love are the first things we all want. But on a blog, a Roman Catholic priest, looking at the superficial slappy-happy, sentimental time that Advent/Christmas has become, suggested that the candles should stand for Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven!  The last things.  We want the first things first…without pain or struggle, without the Cross, without judgment, without His hard birth.  As Reformed theologian H. Richard Niebuhr wrote, 

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

But we are not without sin and that’s the point.  The Lord must reckon with that and He has.  The last things do come first, then in joyful repentance we accept our death sentence as true and see the true Lord born in a feeding trough (manger) through His death on the Cross. Only then do we receive the gifts of Peace, Joy, Hope and Love. The Lord went through the last things and will in the end of all things. The Lord’s last things make the first things last, otherwise it’s all tinsel, and Santa and sleighs and chimneys.  A fantasy Santa comes the chimney but the real Lord came down from heaven and went up on the Cross.  Feed on His Word in His feeding trough, manger, this week in the Church.

 

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