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Introduction n Advent is a sacred season in the Christian Liturgical calendar. It is the beginning of the Christian calendar. The season of Advent is celebrated by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and other Christian Peoples.
Definition n Webster’s Dictionary defines Advent as a coming, an arrival. n From the Latin word Adventus which means ”to come’’. n Words associated with Advent are: Metanoia--Greek word for changed heart. Emmanuel –Aramaic word for God is with us Jesus—Hebrew word for God saves
Happy New Year n n n Christians celebrate Advent. It is always four weeks before Christmas. It is the beginning of the Church’s New Year. Every Religion and culture celebrates a New Year. Jewish New Year is called Roshashanah in later September. Muslim New Year is called Ramadan in mid-late October. Some confuse Hanukah with Advent. Hanukah is a Jewish festival using a menorah to symbolize the 8 days a small group of people survived against the Syrian Greeks with only a one day supply of oil for their lamps, hence the miracle of Hanukah.
Purpose and Theme n n n The general purpose of Advent is to prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus, the Christ. We also anticipate Jesus’ Second Coming, a. k. a. , Judgment Day. Therefore theme of the season revolves around changing ourselves to get ready for that future day since we do not know the hour nor the day of this Second Coming. So there is a broad focus for Christians today. We look to the past to remember the joy of Bethlehem. We look at our present selves and see what changes we can make to bring about the expectation of Jesus’ Kingdom. As the Gospels states, we know not the hour or the day of the coming”. Finally, we look to the future with anticipation as we prepare for our eschatological future, namely salvation from sin and evil. Eschatology refers to a belief and hope for salvation in the future. For the Jews that meant a Messiah was to come. For Christians, it means Jesus coming again in Glory.
Mark 13: 23 -37 n 32 n 33 n 34 n 35 n 36 n 37 – "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. – Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. – It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. – Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. – May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. – What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"
Length of Season n n n Advent lasts 4 weeks. We use an Advent wreath as a symbol of this season. There are three candles the same color and a fourth one is a different color. One candle is lit each week. 3 candles are Purple referring to repentance [some churches use royal blue] 1 candle is Pink referring to the joys of the anticipated coming. This is lit on the third Sunday. [some churches use white. ] We use a circle because it is like God, no beginning and no end. Some churches use the symbols of the Alpha and the Omega. We use evergreens to symbolize hope and everlasting life.
Scripture Basis n n Christians look to the Prophet Isaiah in the Hebrew Scriptures for understanding of “the one who is to come. ” Find Is 2: 1 -5, Is 7: 10 -16, Is 8: 16 -24, Is 9: 1 -6. In the Gospels, we of course look to John the Baptist who spoke of the one to come. He told the Jews to repent. His cry was “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!” Find MT 2, LK 3: 3 -16, MK 1: 1 -8, JN 1: 19 -34 The Gospels also contain Jesus words about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Find MT 24: 36 -44. In the other Christian Scriptures, we look for passages that help us understand the need to turn away from selfish ways. For example, Find Romans 2: 1 -11, Romans 13: 11 -14.
Comparisons to Today Media and parish/neighborhood organizations help us get into the Christmas Spirit through food and clothing drives. We never know what we have until we give some of it away to those in Need. n This time of year, more than any other, asks people to “GIVE” a little Christmas cheer to those less fortunate. Churches and town halls gather gifts for those who without our aid would likely have none. n Radio, Television, and Hollywood push the message of changing for the better. We turn from bitter and selfish people into the people we are supposed to be when we are faced with our inevitable futures. The Grinch and Ebenzer Scrooge are two good examples. n
Conclusions Advent is a time of self-reflection. It challenges us to examine our past and present lives so that we can be led to a “better” future. n Remember that the Kingdom of God is at hand, but not yet. n The secular world calls this time, “The Season of Giving. ” what can you give to help yourself prepare for the coming of our Lord? n