Advent has arrived; in fact, we are about to begin the second week. It seems like so long ago since we first had to close our churches, our schools, our businesses; and yet, it also seems as though the time has gone by very quickly.
Each Sunday during Advent we light the candles of the Advent wreath. Each candle corresponds to a different theme – a theme that guides our reflections during this season of prayer and preparation for the coming of Christ. The theme for the first week is hope. It represents not only the hope that Jesus’s birth brought into the world, but the hope we have for his return and for eternal life with him. The theme for the second week is peace. It represents not just peace in the world that would mean the end of war and animosity among nations and peoples, but the peace of God, which passes all understanding and fills our hearts with the desire to be closer to God. The theme for the third week is joy. Not just joy that we feel when things are going right in our world and that we share with those whom we love, but the joy of heaven that fills us with confidence in God’s love for us. Which brings us to the theme for the fourth week of Advent: love. It represents not only the love we have for one another, and not only our love for God through Jesus his Son, but also God’s great love for us that he showed us by sending Jesus to us on that first Christmas day so long ago.