Sunday, November 29, 2015

Welcome to Advent!

Dear friends (and those who may have stumbled upon this blog),    
If you've joined me the last few years, you are probably familiar with Advent. But for any new readers, this will serve as an introduction: 

In latin the word "adventus" means "coming." Within the context of western Christianity, Advent is the season of four weeks leading up to Christmas--the celebration of Christ's birth. It is a time of joyful expectation and preparation. The four weeks are marked by the four Sundays, on which the candles of the Advent wreath are lit. 

The first candle is traditionally the candle of Hope. The remaining three candles of Advent may be associated with different aspects of the Advent story in different churches, or even in different years. Usually they are organized around characters or themes as a way to unfold the story and direct attention to the celebrations and worship in the season. So, the sequence for the remaining three Sundays might be Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels. Or Peace, Joy, and Love. Or John the Baptist, Mary, the Magi. Or the Annunciation, Proclamation, Fulfillment.

This year, I want to try something a little different. The themes of Advent are often so hard to grasp during the ordinary times (the church calendar’s remaining weeks), so I want to focus on each and do a word-study of sorts, drawing insights directly from Scripture and other great Christian writings. But don’t worry, I will still be incorporating the traditional poems and hymns that point to Christ's lineage of expectation and the season of hopeful longing and preparation where we find ourselves in each year.

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