Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. Isaiah 2:3a
whose promises stand unshaken through all
generations: renew us in hope,
that we may be awake and alert
watching for the glorious return of Jesus Christ,
our Judge and Saviour,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- Isaiah 2:1-5
- Psalm 122
- Romans 13:9-14
- Matthew 24:36-44
- Isaiah 11:1-10
- Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-21
- Romans 15: 4-13
- Matthew 3: 1-12
A Thought to Ponder
Advent 1 – Luke 21:25-38
What is Advent?
Advent is the season of the year leading up to Christmas. The word advent itself means “arrival” or “an appearing or coming into place.” Christians often speak of Christ’s “first advent” and “second advent”; that is, His first and second comings to earth. His first advent would be the Incarnation—Christmastime.
The Advent season lasts for four Sundays. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, or the nearest Sunday to November 30. Advent ends on Christmas Eve and thus is not considered part of the Christmas season. The Advent celebration is both a commemoration of Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of His second coming. As Israel longed for their Messiah to come, so Christians long for their Saviour to come again.
Advent is seen as a time to prepare one’s heart for Christmas and for the eventual return of Christ (and the judgment He will bring to the world).
Churches that observe Advent usually decorate their sanctuaries in the liturgical colour of Advent, royal blue or purple. Some churches change the colour to rose on the third Sunday of Advent to signify a greater emphasis on the joy of the season.
One of the most common Advent traditions involves the use of evergreen wreaths, branches, and trees. On the first Sunday of Advent, churches and homes are decorated with green to symbolise the eternal life that Jesus brings. An Advent wreath—an evergreen circle with four coloured candles surrounding a white one in the middle—is placed in a prominent spot. The candles are then lit one at a time, on successive Sundays. The first candle is the candle of “hope” or “expectation.” The three remaining candles “peace, joy, love”. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the centre white candle is lit; this is the “Christ Candle,” a reminder that Jesus, the Light of the Word, has come.
Advent calendars, used to count down the days till Christmas, are popular in many homes. An Advent calendar contains a number of covered “windows” that are opened, one a day, until Christmas Day. Each open window reveals a picture related to the season or a poem or a Bible verse or a treat of some kind. Many parents find an Advent calendar is a good way to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas—although there are secular versions of the calendars, too.
Should Christians observe Advent? There is certainly nothing wrong with commemorating Jesus’ birth and anticipating His return—such commemoration and anticipation should be an everyday part of our lives.
Are Christians required to observe Advent? No.
Does observing Advent make one a better Christian or more acceptable to God? No.
Can celebrating Advent be a good reminder of what the season is truly all about? Yes, and therein lies its greatest value.
You can read the Pew Sheet herePew-Sheet-Advent-1-A-2022