Bansfield BeneficeDiocese of St Edmundbury & IpswichChurch of England Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes

Advent Sunday Services

Please see the Service Rota for details

Advent Sunday

Advent Sunday

Advent (from the Latin Adventus, sc. Redemptoris, "the coming of the Saviour") is a holy season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, also known as the season of Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western Christian year. (The Eastern churches begin the year on 1 September.)

Advent in the Christian sense refers to the four weeks before Christmas. The four Sundays of advent are often traditionally celebrated with four candles with one to be lit each Sunday. Each candle has a specific meaning associated with different aspects of the Advent story. The first one almost always symbolizes expectant hope sometimes associated with prophecy. The others are organized around characters or themes as a way to unfold the story and direct attention to the celebrations and worship in the season, such as Peace, Love, Joy. The third (and sometimes fourth) is generally symbolic of Joy at the imminence of the coming of Christ.

The colour scheme and order of symbolic associations for the candles is largely arbitrary but several traditions have adopted them for the meaning they carry. For Catholics and Protestants alike, the colour of the first, second and fourth candles are purple (or blue), but the third is often rose-coloured, to joyfully represent Gaudete Sunday with a less sombre liturgy. A few non-liturgical Christians, or Catholics for whom different coloured candles are unavailable, use red candles for all four Sundays. A fifth, white or gold, candle -- called a "Christ Candle" -- is often lit in the centre on Christmas Day or used to replace the wreath altogether.

A common way of marking the days of this advent, particularly among children who believe in Santa Claus, is an Advent Calendar. These can carry religious messages, seasonal pictures or little chocolate shapes. Another home-based craft made for advent is the Advent wreath that uses the candles described above as well as a circular wreath that symbolizes eternity.

Last Modified Sunday 25 March 2012