Fr. Kurian KollapallilThe first Sunday of Advent is the Sunday of Expectation and Hope. As the word “Advent,” means “coming,” so in Advent we celebrate the three various comings of Jesus. The first coming of Jesus was as the Word incarnate born at Bethlehem and God amidst us. We look forward to his second coming in glory, which he has promised to take place at the end of the world. His third coming is the present one which takes place in us in the reception of the sacraments and in our personal encounters in prayer and love for God and others. The Church urges us to open our hearts to receive him with faith, hope and love. By doing this, we prepare ourselves for his final coming—first at our death and then at his Second Coming at the end of the world. The readings of this Sunday urge us to “stay awake,” to “be prepared” because we do not know the day or hour the Lord is coming to get us. In a very true sense we can say; “the Lord has come, the Lord is coming, and Lord will come again.”

Advent invites us to find time to experience the spiritual joys of preparing a place for Christ in our lives.

The first step in preparation for Christmas anyone can do is to mend broken relationships. One of the most helpful ways of doing this is using an advent wreath-all family coming around the advent wreath and praying together and reading the bible and listening to the readings will bind the family together. The circular shape of the evergreen wreath reminds us of God’s never ending love, and the ever-lasting life found in Christ. Pray for all those who are not in good terms with you and pray for the world, that the lost harmony and innocence may return as we prepare to celebrate this Christmas.
The first candle lit on the first Sunday of Advent is called the prophesy candle. The candle’s purple color reminds us that Jesus’ coming was prophesied hundreds of years before he was born. Purple is the sign of royalty. The eldest is to light the first candle. The second candle is lit on the second week (along with the first candle) and is called the Bethlehem candle, reminding us that the king was born in Bethlehem. This too is purple. It is a time to write letters and send messages to the near and dear ones and to pray for them. On the second week, let the second eldest person or child light the candle all week.

The third candle is rose colored, the candle of ‘Love’. The third candle, lit on the third Sunday along with the first two is known as the shepherd’s candle. We are reminded that God sent His angels to proclaim the message to the common man and that He still uses common man to proclaim the goodness of Christ. This candle reminds us of God’s faithfulness and love. Let the third eldest person light the candle, and plan to do something every day for the poor people around us, and write down what you have done for the day and keep near the wreath. The fourth candle is purple and known as the ‘angel candle’. It reminds us of the message brought to us by the angels. This is the time for us to prepare ourselves as a household to welcome Jesus into our families. Everyone in the family goes for the sacrament of reconciliation and prepares their heart for welcoming Jesus. The second to the youngest person lights this candle, and each one will pray every day for forgiveness. This week each one prepares his or her gift for others. Pray for your wish to be granted from Christ.
The last candle is white, and it reminds us of the birth of Christ. Let the youngest person light the candle. Let the birth of Christ fill our hearts and homes with His Presence and Joy. This Advent let’s take time each day to “wait”, to pause long enough to listen for God’s presence. You might find it in the still quiet of the night or in the laughter of a child or in a friend standing at your doorstep.

“We must live in this world as if our mind were in heaven and our body in the tomb.” St. Francis de Sales