The Meaning of Advent
For almost sixteen centuries...
Christians have celebrated the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a special time, a time of joyful expectation awaiting the advent, or “arrival,” of the Christ child. We celebrate what God has already done in bringing Jesus into this world but we also wait expectantly for what God will do in the future with the second coming of Jesus. Our waiting is not passive. We join with God in the works he is already doing in our midst. We pray, we gather on the Lord’s day, we support the hurting, we work for justice and mercy in a world filled with violence and spite. If you are like me, your hope occasionally dims. This dysfunctional and sin-filled world is tiresome. Advent is a time to renew our hope by fixing our thoughts upon what God has done in Jesus to right the wrongs we experience and what God will do when he brings his kingdom to this world in all of its fullness.
One of the things we do as a church to anticipate Christmas is light Advent candles during gathered worship on the four Sundays of Advent. On the table by the pulpit there are four purple candles ringing a white one. Purple represents Christ coming as a king (in the ancient world often times royal folks wore purple cloths). Each Sunday leading up to Christmas we light another purple candle as a countdown to Christmas. On Christmas Eve we light the candle in the center which signals the arrival of Christ, the light of the world.
We will celebrate together the Advent Sundays as well as Christmas Eve but you can also use this time recharge your hope in God individually or as a family. Here are a few suggestions:
These are fun ways to chart the journey to Christmas. Here are several you can purchase and most are under $5.
Daily Advent devotionals such as John Piper's "Good News of Great Joy" can supplement your prayer times and Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri Nouwen has daily Scripture readings and prayers from one of the 20th century’s most insightful theologians.
You can read a different Christmas book to your children each night of Advent (here are a couple great resources),
You can walk through your neighborhood enjoying the Christmas lights (historically, representing Christ, the light of the world) and praying that those living around you would begin a journey with Christ this Christmas.
Invite Your Friends:
You can invite your friends to experience renewed hope during our Advent celebrations at CCG each Sunday this December.