From Pastor David

As we approach the end of November with the celebration of Thanksgiving, which will be different this year for many of us, we have also begun preparing for Christmas. As you make these preparations, I invite you to consider including the observance of Advent. Advent is the season before Christmas. Since it is often overlooked in the rush to get to Christmas, I wanted to write a few lines to answer some questions you may have about Advent.

Where did the idea of Advent originate?

When Christians began to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the sixth century, it seemed logical to them to prepare for it with great care. So they observed the four weeks before Christmas as Advent. However, these early Christians thought of Christ’s coming not only in terms of the past, but also in terms of the present and future.  Christ came to earth in the past, Christ comes to us now in prayer, study, community, human need and service and Christ will come again at the end of the world. As a result, the season of Advent looks not only backwards, but also forwards. Therefore, Advent prayers, hymns and scripture readings focus not only on Jesus’ first coming, but also on the final judgment and end of the world.

What is advent? How long is it?

Advent always begins the 4th Sunday before Christmas. Because it always begins on a Sunday and because Christmas can fall on any day of the week, the length of Advent can vary from year to year. Advent may be as many as twenty-eight days or as few as twenty-two. This year Advent begins on Nov. 29, so it is twenty-six days long. Advent also marks the beginning of the Christian liturgical year and leads us into the Christmas cycle, which runs from Christmas Eve to the Sunday after Epiphany. This includes the twelve days of Christmas. (Yes, kids, tell your parents Christmas is really twelve days, not one.)

What is the purpose of Advent?

Advent literally means arrival. During Advent we wait for the coming of Christ in our lives. Advent is about waiting. However, this waiting is not passive. It is active. This means that if we want to be prepared to encounter not only the Christ child from the past, but also the Christ who is present in our lives today and ultimately the One we will meet in the future, we will wait actively. This means we cannot sit in our chairs and do nothing. Instead we are invited to take Advent Actions. Actions could include: a daily Advent reading, creating an Advent Calendar, making an Advent wreath with your children, lighting a candle and reading an Advent themed Scripture each night, joining our Wednesday evening Advent Study, Finding Home, giving of your time, talent or treasures to an organization that works for the shalom of the world, or some other action.

I hope this Advent that you will choose some action, that you might be prepared to encounter Christ this Holiday Season.


Pastor David

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