With the start of the Holiday Season, as a Christian.....
I celebrate the start of the season with
The first Week of Advent is
As we journey together we walk in the light of Hope, trusting that God will bring us hope as God has in the past, and we can be assured will do again.
For many centuries, the Church has identified the
beginning of the Christmas celebration with a time of reflection and expectation called Advent.
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival" and, when used in conjunction with Christmas, reminds us of the anticipation and expectation held over hundreds of years by the people of Israel for their Messiah and promised King.
For centuries before Christ, Hebrew rabbis methodically and passionately taught the Jewish people that Messiah was coming. They taught that the people should be ready to embrace their King when he appeared. They emphasized the need for holy living and obedience to God's law.
This explains how the lowliest shepherds and fishermen of that day were acquainted with the promises of a Messiah. This season of preparation was all by God's design.
Today, we mark Advent in the Christian church with the display of a wreath - its circle reminds us of God Himself, eternal and endlessly merciful. It is evergreen - reminding us of the hope of eternal life.
The four outer candles incorporated into the display represent the time of waiting and preparation for the Messiah during the four Sundays of Advent (thought by many theologians to represent the four hundred years of prophetic silence between Malachi and the angelic visitations of the Gospels).
The light of the candles reminds us of the Light of world, and the prophetic promise of His coming. The white central candle of the Advent wreath, lighted at Christmas, reminds us of the fulfillment of His first Advent and the pure, humble means by which He came.