But the angel said to them- “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10).
We celebrate the angel’s candle on this fourth Sunday of Advent. This year the fourth Sunday is celebrated is on December 24th. The Angel’s Candle represents Love. The angels are God’s messengers, and announce the coming of Christ countless times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the angels visit the prophets. Luke’s Gospel recounts Gabriel proclaiming to Mary that she will be the Mother of God. Joseph is visited in a dream by an angel assuring him to take Mary as his wife. The overall message of the angels is the same throughout the Bible:
Don’t be afraid.
But why? There are more than enough reasons to be afraid of the responsibilities we are called to. The prophets were asked to bring God’s message to His people. Their messages were not always well received. They called people to prayer, penance, and waiting. Mary was fifteen when she became pregnant. She was confronted with a pregnancy before she was married, and the responsibility of raising the savior of the world. Joseph was asked to bring this pregnant teenager into his home and refrain from intercourse with her in his marriage. None of those are easy callings.
Yet, the angels tell them not to be afraid. Why? For the same reason the Israelite’s and the Jews were told not to be afraid. All of their challenges, all of their waiting, all of their responsibilities were God’s plan.
This candle represents Love, wrapping up Advent. Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are staples of Christmas for a reason. God asked His people to keep hope in His promise, to live with peace in their lives. His angels brought them joy with the love of God. So, we end our waiting of advent with the virtue of love.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only son.”
It’s hard, sometimes impossible, to keep hope, peace, and joy in our lives when we are waiting for something we sorely need and deeply desire. Love ties them all together. It is the virtue that allows us to set aside the difficulties and rise to our responsibilities.
Note: Catholics have an obligation to attend Mass once for Sunday and once for Christmas. This means if anyone attends the Christmas Eve vigil in the evening, they still must attend Advent Mass earlier on Sunday morning, or on Saturday evening.