Monday, December 4, 2017

The Season of Advent

Chuckle: "Why are there so many Smiths in the phone book? Because they all have phones!"
Good Quote: "When our hearts are filled with gratitude to God, there is no room for envy, covetousness, or greed." --William A. Ward

"Advent" means "the coming" and, as applied to the Christmas season, refers to the coming of Christ as the incarnation of God himself. For many centuries, Christian churches have observed Advent as a special time of worship, repentance, reflection, and preparation in anticipation of Christmas Day. Advent is celebrated the four Sundays prior to Christmas. Lighting the candles on the Advent Wreath, together with appropriate reminders of God's gift of the Christ Child to us can be a meaningful worship experience.
Depending upon the source, the candles can have differing symbolic meanings, but in every case they remind us of our need to prepare our hearts for celebrating the holy birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. The steps in Advent are symbolized by the Advent Wreath and five candles (3 purple, 1 pink, and 1 white). The evergreen wreath is made in a circle which symbolizes the eternal nature of the life God gives us as believers. For our purpose, the candles will have meaning as follows:
1. The first purple candle is the "Prophecy" candle, lit on the Sunday closest to November 30. It reminds us of the foretelling of Jesus' coming, by the prophets, many centuries prior to His birth. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son" (Isaiah 7:14). "For unto us a child is born . . . and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
2. The second purple candle, lit on the second Sunday of Advent, is the "Bethlehem" candle which reminds us of the humble nature and place of our Lord's birth in the city of David. "But you, Bethlehem, . . . out of you will come the one who will be ruler over Israel, . ." (Micah 5:2).
3. The third purple candle, lit on the third Sunday of Advent, is the "Shepherd's" candle reminding us that the lowly shepherds in the fields were the first to hear of Jesus' birth. It also reminds us that Christ is the "Good Shepherd" who loves His sheep perfectly. "The shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about' " (Luke 2:15).
4. The pink "Angel's" candle, lit on the last Sunday before Christmas, reminds of the angelic proclamation of the "good news" of Christmas and points to the eminent coming of the light of the world. The angel said to the shepherds, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy . . . Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).
5. The white center candle is the "Christ" candle and is lit Christmas day or at the end of the last service prior to Christmas. It symbolizes that the time of repentance and preparation is over and the Lord has come. The whiteness of the candle represents the pure Light who came into the world as a baby born of a virgin, and reminds us that Jesus the Christ is the center of our Christmas celebration.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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