“Mommy, what is avent?” seven-year old Amy asked her ‘single’ mom when they got home from church.
“I’m not sure Honey, I don’t recognize that word. Where did you hear it?”
“Mrs. Sanchez. She says that next week is the first Sunday of avent and we’re going to light some candles! Is it Avent’s birthday, Mommy?”
Sharon chuckled at the misunderstanding of her curious daughter. Amy always had questions. If she was uncertain about something…… anything, she would not be satisfied until she got an answer.
“Oh, you mean Advent. It’s a word that’s used around Christmas time to remind us of Jesus’ birth. Many churches light candles during services……or Sunday School, to keep us focused on the true meaning of the Christmas Season!”
“Well, what does it mean, Mom? What is Advent?”
Sharon was in a little bit of a dilemma now because she had already just given Amy all the information she knew about the tradition. She hadn’t grown up in church but she knew that Pastor Dave had lit candles in previous years and had explained each of their meanings. She wished now that she would have paid attention.
“Amy, it’s time to get dinner ready but I promise you that I will get back to this and have an answer for you by tomorrow!”
Later, after Amy had gone to bed, Sharon got out her trusty laptop to research the question. She was up to the challenge and did what any red-blooded American mother would do; she Googled it. She went straight to Google Search and typed in Advent. She was surprised to see that there were 38,200,000 results for her inquiry. “Oh my, this might take a while.” She scrolled down to ‘Advent and Christmas’. “This looks like a good place to begin!” she assured herself. “Hmmmmm, let’s see,”……down, down, down she scrolled through the page. “Wow, there’s a lot of information here, way more than I ever wanted to know,” she said out loud, but to herself.
Sharon went back to the search and typed in Advent Candles; only 250,000 entries this time. This was going to be harder than she thought. No……wait, finally a page in which things were simplified, at least enough so that she could understand it and explain it to Amy also.
There were five candles in all: The first, the candle of hope - stood for the hope we have in Christ. The second candle symbolizes ‘the way’………Christ shines His light and shows us the way out of darkness. The third candle is for joy; without Christ, there is no true joy. The fourth candle is the candle of Peace. Jesus came to bring peace to the world and to our hearts. The fifth candle represents Christ, who was born to save us from our sins and who also promises to return to bring Christ-Followers back to Heaven to live with Him forever.
When Amy woke up the next morning, Sharon explained Advent in a way that a 7-year old could comprehend. Amy’s little imagination went to work and after a few minutes she asked, “Mom, I have $14.00, is that enough to buy some Advent candles to light this year?”
“Well, I’m sure that’s more than enough, Honey, but why do you want to light candles at home when you’ll be doing it in Sunday school?”
Amy was quiet at first. She looked at her mom with those big blue eyes, and then she looked down and hesitated: “I…I… want to light a candle of hope, because I hope that Daddy will come home for Christmas.”
Tears instantly began to form in Sharon’s eyes. “Oh honey.”
‘I want to light a candle of ‘the way’, because I hope that Jesus will shine His light for Daddy to find his way back.”
By this time, the tears were spilling over.
“I want to light a candle of joy because we haven’t had any joy since Daddy left…and a candle of peace because when he comes home, then there will be peace in my heart.”
Trying to control her emotions, Sharon asked, “What about the last candle, Sweetheart?”
“We’ll save the last candle Mommy… until Daddy gets here. Then, when we’re all together again, we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday together. I think Jesus would like that, don’t you?”
“Yes Amy, I think He would like that very much, and so would I.”
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