ADVENT

INTRODUCTION & HISTORY

December 1 – December 24

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Week 1
December 1 – December 7
Week 3
December 15 – December 21
Week 2
December 8 – December 14
Week 4
December 22 – December 28

WEEKS 01-04

December 1 – December 24

INTRODUCTION

The season of Advent starts four weeks before Christmas and continues through Christmas Day. It is the first and perhaps most familiar of the Christian Calendar seasons. Over the years, people have celebrated Advent in many nostalgic ways, from pulling small, nightly chocolates from tiny doors, to singing festive hymns, to lighting candles that remind us of Emmanuel. Although familiar, it may be the season most easily influenced or even corrupted by our secular culture. In the busyness of Christmas shopping, parties, travel to visit family and friends, and breaks from school, the observance of Advent can often feel like just another “thing” within a frantic Christmas tradition. This is precisely why the Christian Calendar was created—to define seasons in the year to reflect on the power, wonder, goodness, and grace of God. By focusing on these things, we are more prepared to live out authentic expressions of Christ’s love within the frantic culture.

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Before the first Christmas, when Jesus was born, the Israelites were looking forward to the promised Messiah. They waited for the coming arrival of a Savior who would set them free. They were trapped under foreign and hostile rulers, fearful of the darkness and distress that surrounded them in the waiting.

During Advent, we too remember our need for the King who sets us free from the hostile darkness surrounding us. Like the Israelites, we live in a world full of sin, darkness, and fear; we need God to save us. The story of Advent is that the Redeemer has come! Jesus has brought freedom and forgiveness to all who believe! The Light has crushed the darkness!

ENTER THE STORY

As we enter this story, we look afresh at the season and reclaim it for its intended purpose. We look past all the holiday buzz, busyness, and materialism. We reclaim this season to celebrate the Good News unleashed on this earth and in our lives. Indeed, a people wandering in darkness have seen a great light, and our Emmanuel (God with us) has come!

We invite you and your family to join us this Advent season as we remember the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. It is a time marked by gratitude, praise, and hope; may we be marked by the hope we have in Christ! When we speak of Christmas, may our faces light up! May our excitement for gifts under the tree and breaks from work or school be overshadowed by our passion to celebrate Jesus. May this be a season for you and your family to focus on the story of the Bible–light has conquered darkness and hope has conquered fear!

HISTORY & TRADITIONS

The origin of the season of Advent can be dated within Christianity to the sixth century AD. This likely makes it the last season of the Christian calendar to be developed. Originally, Advent centered on a 40-day period of preparation for Christ’s coming and was eventually shortened to the four Sundays prior to Christmas.

One common form of celebration is through an Advent Calendar, incorporating individual “windows” that share the story of Jesus. Another common celebration is through the successive lighting of five candles symbolizing the truth that Jesus is the Light of the World who brings hope, peace, joy, and love. Each of the first four candles is lit on one of the Sundays leading up to Christmas; the final candle, the Christ candle, is lit on Christmas morning. Traditionally, in many churches, the Christ candle remains lit until Good Friday, when the Light of the World had His life snuffed out on the cross. It is a great resource for adults and children alike to remember that Jesus has come and is coming again.

POSTURES & SYMBOLS

Prayerful Posture: expectant, hopeful, celebratory, grateful

Colors: blue, gold, white

Symbols: wreaths, candles, trees

Flowers and Greenery: red and white poinsettias, evergreens, holly

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