Advent Reflection: Love: 4th Sunday in Advent

CANDLE OF LOVE

This candle is also known as the Angel candle.

We see the other candles representing a part of the Christmas story in addition to virtues.
• Week One – The prophecies about the coming Messiah
• Week Two – Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus, the Prince of Peace
• Week Three – The shepherds who came to see Jesus
• Week Four – The angels who proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds

Love plays a vital role in the Christmas story. Because of Joseph’s love for Mary, he didn’t stone her when he found out she was pregnant with what he thought was a child out of wedlock with another man (Matthew 1:18-19). Mary had a natural motherly love for Jesus, and ultimately, we see God’s love for everyone by sending His Son for us (John 3:16).

Jesus focused on preaching love throughout His ministry. Two of his greatest commands involve love: Love God, love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

Love is the greatest of all virtues and encompasses Jesus’ entire purpose for being on earth (1 Corinthians 13:13).

What does the Bible say about Love?
Not surprisingly, the Bible has a lot to say about love.
The word appears about 500 times throughout Scripture. It makes sense. God is love (1 John 4). They know we are Christians by our love (1 Corinthians 13:1). Love sacrificed Jesus for our sins.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 alone tallies off a number of characteristics of love: it’s patient, kind, it does not envy, etc.

We cannot walk with Christ without love, and we cannot have the Christmas story without it. Love is what Christmas is all about.

The Christ Candle
In addition to the Love Candle, churches will also light the larger white candle at the center of the wreath on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. This is the Christ Candle, and it symbolizes that Christ is the reason for the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love that we have. Jesus is the reason for the season. The white also symbolizes Christ’s purity, showing Christ’s blamelessness.

Some churches, on Christmas or the Sunday after Christmas, will remove the other candles and leave the Christ Candle, showing that the old has passed away and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). In other words, the law the Jews followed in the Old Testament, the sinful nature of man, all of it has passed away and Christ has brought the new covenant, a new promise of salvation.

Why does this Matter?
We cannot be Christians without Christ and without His love. Otherwise, our works and our purpose on earth are for nothing. We need Christ and Christ’s love to share the Good News of salvation throughout the earth.

Christ connects all the Advent candles. It is only through Him that we can have real hope, real peace, real joy, and real love. Christ steps down into darkness to light the world (John 8:12). Because of Him, we can be a light unto others, showing them the true meaning of Christmas.

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