What is Advent?

The word “advent” derives from the Latin “adventus”, meaning “coming.” During its earliest observances, Advent was 40 days of repentance, fasting and prayer as new believers prepared for their baptisms. Oftentimes, these baptisms took place on the day of Epiphany–which is a day remembering the Magi’s visit to baby Jesus; it was a celebration of Jesus’ incarnation on Earth. One of the ways we reflect on Advent in communal worship is by utilizing an Advent wreath–a simple wreath surrounding four exterior candles and one central candle. The four exterior candles represent the hallmarks of a renewed creation: joy, hope, peace and love. The central candle represents the presence of Christ. Each Sunday, one more of the exterior candles is lit. Finally, the Christ candle is lit as a reminder of Christ’s ongoing presence.