Advent: A Season of Light

For those who observe, the Friends wish that this holy season usher new hope into your life.

This year, Advent runs from Sunday, November 28 through Friday, December 24th. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (December 25) and lasts until Christmas Eve (December 24). In Latin, adventus means “coming.” For some Christian sects, this season is a time of spiritual preparation for the coming of their Savior, both historically in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, which is commemorated on Christmas, and futuristically in a second coming associated with the end of time. The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year. An Advent wreath is a common symbol of the season although the configuration of candles and color may vary depending on local practice. Many churches in the United States will use three purple or blue candles and a one pink or rose candle. Each Sunday, an additional candle is lit prayerfully. The purple candles symbolize penitence while blue symbolize hope. On the third Sunday, the rose or pink candle is lit as a sign of joy that the time of preparation is nearly complete. As light progressively overcomes darkness, so good will overcome evil at the appointed time.

Advent ends with Christmas. At the time the date of Christmas became fixed, the winter solstice occurred on December 25 according to the Julian calendar then in use and aligned the feast with existing pagan festivals. The expectation and preparations of Advent bring hope and joy even as the nights grow longer throughout the month, which is transformed by this season of lights.