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This is a time of year when many of us will be opening our Advent calendars which seem to contain an ever more bizarre range of goodies. As well as the usual chocolates, there are now advent calendars containing perfume, wine, lego bricks and just about anything else.

But in our Christian tradition, Advent is much more than a frenzied countdown to Christmas, but a time to embrace the reality of waiting. We believe that the coming of Jesus into our world is a turning point in history. This does not mean that every struggle has ended and every problem is solved but that there is a future and a hope that extends into eternity.

The Jesus who came into our world will one day come again - as king, victor and the fulfilment of our history. It is this future that gives us the hope to live with the struggles of the here and now, and to seek out and celebrate the signs of God's kingship within our present experience.

We light Advent candles, bringing light into our darkness, to reflect this sense of hope and to signal our desire to work and speak in ways that bring God's light into our world. Each Sunday in Advent, the candle reflects a different aspect of our faith.

The Candle of Hope
The flame of hope draws our eyes away from the darkness;
The confusion and struggles of this earthly journey,
Not to escape or ignore their reality,
But to remember that in every circumstance God is present
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The Candle of Peace
We light this flame as those to whom God has spoken,
With lives touched by Word made Flesh in Jesus;
Believing that God’s word still sheds its light
On the chaos and concerns of human circumstances.
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The Candle of Love
Let this simple flame be our reminder,
Of the profound potential of ordinary lives
Offered in service to the Most High;
God's purpose accomplished in the midst of human frailty.
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The Candle of Joy
We light this candle as one of celebration,
Not because every evil has been conquered or every trial overcome,
But because the mark of God’s coming
Is indelibly stamped in the history and destiny of this world.
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Click here for our reflections on memories
Click here for 'What's on your plate?'
Click here for our reflections on words
Click here for our reflection on the cross
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