A columnist with multiple sclerosis reflects on her advent wreath.
“This first candle in the advent wreath,” I told my kids as I clicked the lighter and set its flame atop the wick, “represents hope. What does that word mean to you guys?”
In the warm glow of the purple taper, we talked about everything from wishes and Christmas presents to the thornier topics of politics and peace. And while it wasn’t a perfect discussion, I think it accomplished the spiritual goal of the ceremony—to get us all thinking about the future.
If you’ve never used an advent wreath to mark the weeks leading up to Christmas, I highly recommend doing so. It is a rich and interesting practice begun by Martin Luther and observed by many Christians. In brief, it works like this: Each of the four Sundays before December 25, you light a candle and reflect on what it represents through responsive readings, songs and prayers. The first week is focused on hope, the second on peace, the third, joy, and the fourth, love. The color of these candles varies depending on denominational traditions, but most use three purple candles and one pink to correspond to the colors of the garments worn by pastors during each Sunday’s service. Also, many wreaths have a fifth candle in the center, a white one, which represent Jesus Christ. That one is lit on Christmas Eve.
Read full article: Hope Lights the Way to a Cure for MS
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