During the countdown to Christmas the Poet in Residence at Wolverhampton`s radio station, WCR FM, has been writing and broadcasting a poem a week symbolising the Advent candles.
“Four candles decorate the outer edges of the Advent wreath”, explained Poet in Residence Ian Henery “and one candle sits in the middle, the Christ candle. In the final week of Advent churches will light two candles, the candle of love and the Christ candle”.
Each week of Advent Ian Henery has written and broadcast a poem based on the Advent candles of hope, peace, joy and love the church lights weekly, starting with the first week in December and leading up to the week of Christmas. WCR FM broadcasts to 900,000 people daily on 101.8 FM, online, Spotify and Listen Again.
“These themes are common to people of all faiths” explained Ian Henery “and are also important for people who have no faith at all. We all need hope, peace, joy and love in our lives”.
Churches adorn an Advent an Advent wreath during December. Four candles decorate the outer edges of the wreath and one white candle sits in the middle. The church will light one of the candles each week and on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day will light the candles in the centre.
“No matter what the church tradition and no matter what faith a person has – or even none at all – we can assuredly know that virtues such as love, hope, peace and joy are important in the Christmas story as well as in our daily lives. The Christ candle represents Christ and the role He plays in the Christmas story. He is the reason for the season. Jesus brought light into the world through His arrival on Earth as a baby. It is the light at the centre of every Christian`s celebration, who fills up our dark, winter days”.
Ian Henery believes that this is important as billions of people are caught up in Christmas celebrations each year and telling everyone “Merry Christmas” but fail to consider the reason for the season.
“At year`s end” he said “busy shoppers and party-goers turn their attention to the Christmas season. But how often do they stop to ask: why? What do trimming a tree, decorating the house with lights, stockings, pine boughs, flying reindeer, hanging mistletoe and taking the children to see Santa Claus have to do with the reason for the season?
Why do sleigh bells and carols about “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” ring hollow as headlines report increasingly violent crimes, international terrorism, spreading droughts and famines, continuing wars and declining morals?”
According to Ian Henery the reason for the season is the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It`s not about the gifts you can or can not afford to purchase. “As Christmas season draws near” he says “it seems as if it becomes less and less about the birth of Jesus and more and more commercialised as images flood our minds to purchase stuff which we tell ourselves will be the greatest gift we can ever receive. However, Christians believe the greatest gift ever cannot be purchased with money. It was purchased by sacrifice and in the birth of a baby at Christmas. This is the real reason for the season”.
The Christmas Child
The greatest tale told, 2,000 years old,
To us a redeeming child born;
Darkness to dispel with respite from Hell
In a manger on Christmas morn.
A king is given, from God in Heaven,
In the night sky the angels sing;
To all peace on Earth, with this baby`s birth,
It is the hope that Christmas brings.
The world is freed from poverty and greed
Because all that we need is love;
He was born to men with God`s love again,
Let us give praise to God above.
Retrieving our loss from Manger to Cross
Humanity, open your mind;
He was born to save and His life He gave,
God`s present for all humankind.