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First Sunday of Advent
The first candle symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Second Sunday of Advent
The second Candle of Advent (Peace) we continue on the path started in the first week by looking forward to Christ’s first and second coming. Today we focus on John the Baptist, the Gentiles being included in God’s family, Christ’s coming in judgment and peace, and the church’s hopeful expectation of the completion of his promises.
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him” (1–2). This is a beautiful image. From the dead, rotting, and decaying stump of Jesse (King David’s father)—a broken dynasty which was apparently going nowhere—God will unexpectedly cause new life to shoot forth. God did not abandon his people who had fallen into Babylonian captivity. Instead, in continuing his promise to Abraham, God works to bring new life out of death through a descendant of David. Where there is brokenness, God creates hope. Where there is darkness, God’s light shines forth.
Third Sunday of Advent
The third candle of advent (Joy) is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
The fourth candle of Advent to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Savior. This final candle symbolizes love. It reminds us of the love of God in giving us his only son.