Traditionally, during the Christmas season, the First Baptist Church of Amsterdam, New York has an “Advent Wreath” in the church. The Advent Wreath is arranged with five Advent candles, four of which are in a circle, along with one in the center, all on a base of evergreens. Each candle has a powerful message about the Lord.

The Wreath: The wreath itself means “victory” as Christ’s victory over sin so He can save us. The Advent Wreath has four candles that are arranged in a circle symbolizing Christ’s eternity, as a circle has no beginning and has no end, it is a symbol for God, Who is eternal and thus without beginning or end. The evergreens mean He is “ever with us,” and represent anticipation, newness, renewal and His everlastingness. Any red berries on the wreath represent the shedding of Christ’s blood.

The Candles: The Advent candles mean the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His Son. This refers to the significance that Christ is the Light of the world. When they are lit, the illumination is to symbolize the Christ of eternity and His coming as the “Light of the World” and our worship and honor of His most precious gift of His Grace and mercy. Three candles are purple meaning royalty and this is also the color of suffering and the darkness of sin, connecting Jesus’ birth and crucifixion and His triumph over sin. The pink candle means joy and the white Christ candle means purity.

Each candle has a special meaning…

November 30, 2014:The first candle (purple) CANDLE OF HOPE” means His promise and hope. We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises He made to us. Our hope comes from God. (Romans 15:12-13)and further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

December 7, 2014:The second candle (purple) “CANDLE OF PREPARATION” means His light and preparation. Preparation means to ‘get ready’. “Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O GOD!”

(Luke 3:4-6)As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah, the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness; Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

December 14, 2014:The third candle (pink) “CANDLE OF JOY” means the angels sang a message of JOY!

(Luke 2:7-14)And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

December 21, 2014:The fourth candle (purple) “CANDLE OF LOVE” symbolizesChrist love. God sent His only Son to earth to save us because He loves us!

(John 3:16-17)For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

December 24, 2014: (Christmas Eve) The fifth candle (white) “CHRIST CANDLE” symbolizesthe incarnation, the heart and reason of the season, God giving light to the world. Its location is in the center as Christ’s light is central and radiant. Thisreminds us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins!

(John 12: 46)I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. (John 8: 12)Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

A candle is lighted during the worship services each week in progression until Christmas Eve when the last candle is lit. Each week the new unlit candle for that week is lighted, and then the previous candles are re-lighted. An individual, couple or family is sent up to the front of the church sanctuary to light the appropriate candles and read a passage and some verses from scripture.