Advent is a time of expectation, and this is symbolized not only by the four-week period of preparation, but also by the lighting of an Advent candle on each Sunday of the season. Each of the candles represents a different virtue: hope, love, joy and peace.
This Second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of love, as we continue our preparations for the coming of Jesus. That is, we are preparing to celebrate his coming among us as a new-born baby in Bethlehem. Therefore, it is a special time for us to remember with deep gratitude God’s great love for us. The Word of God reminds us that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son for our sake that we may have life through him (John 3:16). During Advent, we pray that we may remember again God’s gift of Jesus to the world and know that God’s love for all people is the reason for this gift.
The Reading for the Second Sunday in Advent “The Birth of Jesus Foretold” comes from Luke 1: 26-33
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
We marvel at Mary, the mother of the Messiah, herself a single, teenaged mother, herself poor and powerless. But she understood that the baby she would call Jesus was sent, not just to her, but to the world … To the hungry … To the weak … To the very young and the very old … To those who suffer or are in pain.