Advent Traditions and Symbols 2018
Advent is filled with images and symbols. Some of us have known them since childhood; for others these are new ways to engage Advent waiting and imagination.
We light candles as a reminder that the light of Christ "shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it." Often there are 3 purple candles,
1 pink candle, and the white Christ candle lit on Christmas Eve. Each candle may represent a word or theme like peace, hope, joy, and love. The pink candle is often associated with Gaudete (joy) Sunday, representing Mary's joy. This year at CPC our Advent wreath lighting and liturgy draw on the ideas
of taking courage, preparing our hearts, going where we're sent, and the angelic reminder "do not be afraid," so all the candles are purple.
CPC's angels join the choir this year just a bit differently from the past with one added each Sunday.
The tree gracing the front of the sanctuary, decorated in white and gold ornaments, is called a Chrismon tree. The ornaments are a collection of ancient Christian symbols and crosses. For example, the shell represents baptism, the dove represents the Holy Spirit, and the crown calls to mind Jesus as King. The word Chrismon is a combination of the words Christ and Monogram as all the decorations are monograms or symbols which together tell the story of our Christian faith. (More symbols and their meanings can be found on the purple cards in the pew pockets.) You will also see Chrismons on the green swags or ropes along the sanctuary walls.
The paraments (the cloths on the lectern, pulpit, Table) are purple, which has long been the color used to represent both royalty and a time of waiting and preparation.
Finally, behind the pulpit is the Bethlehem banner with the star shining over the city. We see it as at a distance as we make our weary, expectant way; along with Mary, Joseph, wisemen and shepherds to the city of David where the Christ child will be born.
So this year, as we tune our eyes to the subtle changes of candles and banners, may we also tune our hearts to hear the old, old sto
as if for
the first time. As Ann Weems wrote,
"When we are Bethlehem-bound
we can no longer look the other way
conveniently not seeing stars
not hearing angel voices.
We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily
tending our sheep or our kingdoms.
This Advent let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing
that the Lord has made known to us...
This Advent, let's go to Bethlehem
and find our kneeling places."