The Advent wreath, or Advent crown, is a tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent in the liturgical calendar of the Western church. It is traditionally a Lutheran practice, although it has spread to many other Christian denominations.
Regardless of religious denomination, church affiliations, believing or not believing in a higher being, the meaning behind the Advent candles resonate loud and clear this holiday season. Each candle symbolizes hope, love, joy, and peace.
I have heard many people say these days, I hope 2020 comes to an end, I am hoping for a vaccine, I have hope that something good will come of all of this. Hope. . . the ability to have trust and expectation for something to happen.
Sometimes we mix up the meaning of the words hope and wish. To make a wish can be far fetched, not feasible, or even a bit silly. To have hope is to have trust that something will change in a positive manner. It doesn’t necessarily mean the outcome will be in the favor you wished for. However, it is a belief that you will make it through a difficult time.
The next candle represents love. . .a deep affection for someone or something. Over the years, the holidays have often times turned into the gifts or wants. The focus became more on loving items rather than loving the people behind the gifts. The frenzy of shopping, the frenzy of buying gifts for everyone on the list, the long lines of buying random items.
This year, as we near closer to the big day, many of us are reflecting on what we have missed. . .I loved going to the movies with my children, I loved going out to eat, I loved hanging out with friends. Love, a deep affection for someone. This candle more than ever burns brightly in my heart this year. I yearn for seeing the people I love and hold dear to my heart.
Even though there are some things that will be different this holiday season, I do believe we can still find joy in our hearts and homes. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Those tears of joy that overcome you when you reunite with a family member, introduce a new baby into the world, or watch children break down barriers of prejudice and just play together. Allow Simple moments to warm your heart. Joy could be enjoying food that you haven’t had a chance to eat in awhile, joy could be sitting and sipping a cup of coffee, joy could be watching an entire movie without being interrupted. Joyful moments are all around us.
The final candle represents peace. I don’t think I need to write an explanation for this word. We are all yearning for this. A state of tranquility, a calm state, a time when there is no war. Peace in our hearts and minds.
I have a new reverence for these candles. It is applicable to our present times and state of being. Which candle do you need the most this year? Hope? Love? Joy? Peace? Take time to cultivate what your heart is needing.
Biscochos (Recipe from Erin’s Great Grandma from New Mexico)
This is not a low fat cookie but it is so yummy!
1 lb of lard
2 cups sugar
2 eggs 8 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp anise seed
Boil 2 tsp anise seed in ½ cup water, when it comes to a boil turn off the heat.
In a large bowl, Beat the lard, sugar, and eggs with a mixer until fluffy.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon alternately with anise seed and water into the mixture.
If dough is stiff, add a little water at a time.
Spread dough on floured board. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters.
(I use ⅓ dough at a time)
Bake at 375 F until lightly browned. 15-20 minutes.
While cookies are baking, mix up cinnamon and sugar.
Dip cookies in cinnamon/sugar mixture while hot. Put cookies on trays to finish cooling.
These cookies will last months in a well sealed container.
Family Challenge: Fill your home with light. Put up as many holiday lights as possible, recommendation from Rebecca!