Whilst Ava waits in the wings with the anticipation of lighting the rose candle next Sunday, Seb was more than happy to take his turn at this Sunday’s lighting of the Advent wreath.
Beneath the evergreen ring, sits a bowl of incense, a symbol of our prayers rising through the gateway between heaven and earth, as we raise our eyes to heaven and the coming of Christ.
The joyful simplicity of our Advent worship is enriched by the wreath, and the daily delights of adding a symbol to the Jesse Tree which, on Christmas Eve, adorned with the symbols of our salvation story, is illuminated and crowned with a star. But that’s all to come! Advent is about waiting and anticipation after all.
Meanwhile, with St Nicholas being subdued today by the Second Sunday of Advent, we gave thanks for his life and ministry at the end of Mass, and blessed and distributed small bags of gold chocolate coins for the children – although some adults managed to get their hands on a coin or two, too!
St Nicholas is, of course, the provenance of Santa Claus, and an important Advent saint. One story associated with his life involved a poor man with three daughters. Unable to provide a dowry for his daughters meant they were unable to get married and so destined to be sold into slavery.
On three occasions a bag of gold appeared in their household: tossed through the window and landing in stockings or shoes left at the fireside to dry. This led to the tradition of children leaving stockings for St Nicholas to fill with gifts. A symbol of three gold balls, coins, money bags or sometimes oranges or apples are used to represent St Nicholas.