Several folks have contacted me recently about using Walking to Bethlehem as their church’s Advent book, and asking if there are bulk packs available. Sadly, my publisher does not do discounted multi-packs, but I have a solution! I have five signed copies to give away to the first five people to contact me showing an order for 10 or more copies of Walking to Bethlehem. Woo hoo! What are you waiting for?
And even if you don’t need ten copies, the price is held at a measly £4.99 to make it affordable for all. That’s less than some chocolate advent calendars!
Advent Wreath Reflections
I don’t know about you, but for me the flurry of Christmas starts just after Bonfire Night and ends in January when I emerge, as if from a blizzard, exhausted, bedraggled, and with a random sprout in my hair.
There comes a time (usually slightly after supermarkets have started selling Easter eggs, ie mid-November) when one can no longer ignore the thousand and one things that a family Christmas entails. And then there’s all the church stuff too. Advent gets lost in the white-out.
It may be a bit simpler this year (not so much school stuff, not so much church stuff), but I expect it will still feel like I’m trying to shovel snow in a snowstorm come the big day.
So having a reminder of what Advent is supposed to be about is very useful for me. Advent Wreaths are excellent for this, and last week’s post has ideas for making your own Advent Wreath at home.
This week I offer some reflections to go with each candle of our Advent Wreaths. You can print out the PDF (6 pages, including a colouring page) and use it for personal, family, school or church devotions for each Sunday of Advent plus Christmas Day. Here’s a preview:
A wreath may be originally a pagan decoration, but it has great Christian symbolism (you can see why we nicked it):
- The unending circle reminds me of God’s unending love, the evergreen leaves speak of eternal life.
- Red candles remind me of my sin, like scarlet, washed clean by Jesus’ blood, or purple candles remind me of royalty, Jesus as King of Kings.
- The four candles take me through the story of Christmas, from the visionary hope of the prophets, through the love come down and the shepherds’ joy, to the angels proclaiming peace to the world.
- Then finally the Christ candle. White for sins washed clean.
White for light. (Breathe)
Light of the world. (Put down the tinsel)
Light in the world. (Quit wrapping pressies for a minute)
Light for the world. (Look. And Think. And Breathe.)
Printable resources below.
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Reflections on the Advent Candles
In case you are not familiar with the traditional associations of each candle, here is the sequence:
On the first Sunday we light the Prophecy candle and think of the prophets who lived in Hope for Jesus’ coming.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isa. 7:14
On the second Sunday we light the Bethlehem candle and think of the great Love that was born in a stable.
“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
On the third Sunday we light the Shepherd’s candle and think of their great Joy when they heard the Good News.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10–11
On the fourth Sunday we light the Angel’s candle and think of the Peace that they announced for all the world.
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests’.” Luke 2:13-14
Finally, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we light the Christ candle, and praise God for sending Jesus as the light of the world.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ” John 8:12