The term “Advent” – is Latin for ‘that which is coming’. So this is the time of preparation, of waiting in the dark, for the return of the light at Winter Solstice & the birth of the Sun/Son at Christmas. We celebrate advent as a four week festival – leading up to Solstice & Christmas. During this time, we deepen our relationship to the world around us
by recognizing and celebrating the strength and beauty of all four kingdoms
of the natural world.
During the first week, we pay tribute to the mineral world.
During the second week, we focus on the plant kingdom.
In the third week, we celebrate the kingdom of animals.
And the fourth week speaks to the human being.
As we pass through these weeks, it moves us toward a deeper understanding
of our place in the universe, of all that supports us, and all that we aspire to,
as well as all that needs our care and protection.
The four candles represent many four-fold wonders,
such as the four seasons of the year or the four virtues of
Peace, Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Rudolf Steiner connected Advent with the four kingdoms in this lovely poem:
“The first light of Advent is the light of stones. Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants. Roots, stem, leaf, flower and fruit by whom we live and grow.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts. Animals of farm, field, forest, air and sea. All await the birth in greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind. The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand.”
(Each week we read one stanza of this poem after lighting the candles. When we finish we blow out the candles in reverse order from how they were lit.)
Here are 2 other Advent offerings:
Coming Towards Advent
In deepening night The earth is alight Gleaming as a star — You and I I and you We will give our light too – When days are darkest The earth enshrines The seeds of Summer’s birth A light that shines Into the human soul Yawning in the darkness O radiant star of Bethlehem Lead onward thru the night That we in winter’s darkest days May see your guiding light.
Sun, moon and stars Beaming wide and far Over land, over sea Over you, over me.
For my soul’s delight Shine into my heart this night.
Now the twilight of the year The Nathan Soul draws near.
See, across the Advent sky How the clouds move quietly by.
Earth is waiting, wrapt in sleep, Waiting in a silence deep.
Birds are hid in bush and reed Flowers are sleeping in their seed.
Through the woodland to and fro silent-footed creatures go.
Hedgehog curled in a prickly ball Burrows beneath the leaves that fall.
Angel, human, beast, bird and flower Waiting for the midnight hour Waiting for the Sun-child’s birth Christ who made the heaven and earth.