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    Our Advent Calendar 2022. Day 7: The Advent Lantern

    Advent is a special time of waiting for the day of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Among its many symbols are the wreath, the Yearning candle – the so-called ‘roratka’, the Advent calendar and the traditional Advent lanterns. Today, we check out the history of Advent lanterns for you.

    The Advent lantern, according to tradition in the Catholic Church, illuminates the first part of the early morning Advent Mass, at which time the lights in the church are extinguished. The symbolic darkness is a time of waiting and recollection. This custom alludes to Jesus’ parable which tells of the prudent virgins who, holding burning lamps in their hands, awaited the coming of the bridegroom. 

    Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, "Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!" Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise answered, saying, "What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves." While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterwards, the other virgins also came, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But he answered, "Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you." Watch therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
    — Matthew 25:1-13

    The Advent lantern not only dispels the December darkness, but also the symbolic darkness of sin. The quadrilateral, decorated with Christian symbols, with the light inside appearing at the beginning of the Advent Mass, reminds us of the need to accumulate good deeds in Advent. It is these, like light, that illuminates the darkness of sin to show Jesus Christ the way to our hearts and us the way to Bethlehem. Moreover, the light also symbolises not only the Saviour himself, but the lantern also refers us back to the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom.  

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