***MOST RECENT ARTICLE***
Prayer and Advent
Shelly Dau, Pastoral Council Member
During the four weeks of Advent, we prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth through prayer and reflection. We contemplate the First Coming of Jesus as Savior, and anticipate his promised Second Coming. And amid the flurry of Christmas preparations, we look for practical ways to observe the holiness of the season in our everyday lives
The word "advent" comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means "coming." Advent marks the beginning of the church year, and it's a season of anticipation, reflection, prayer and hope.
Advent is also a spiritual journey we take, through the truths of Scripture that point to the birth of Jesus, our Messiah, to a reaffirmation that he has come, is present in the world today, and will come again in glory. It mirrors the journey of faith we make when we accept Christ as our Savior, walking with Him each day and hoping to be in his presence forever.
Most churches have at the heart of their worship an Advent Wreath. The circle of greenery reminds us that God is eternal, the Alpha and the Omega, without beginning or end. The wreath also reminds us of the hope we have in God, of newness, renewal and eternal life.
The candles symbolize the light of God entering the world through the birth of Jesus. The light from the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world who comes into the darkness of our lives. It also reminds us that we are called to be "light to the world," as we reflect the light of God's love and grace to others.
Traditionally, the color of Advent is purple, which ties directly to Lent. Purple forms the link between the birth and death of Jesus. On the third Sunday, however, the color typically changes to rose in anticipation of the end of fasting and the start of rejoicing for the birth of Christ. In fact, each of the four Sundays of Advent have a theme, if you will. They are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
Charles Wesley's traditional hymn of anticipation goes like this:
1. Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart. 2. Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
We watch. We wait. We pray:
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me the wonder at the wisdom and power of your Father and ours. Receive my prayer as part of my service to the Lord who enlists me in God's own work for justice.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in my home and peace in myself.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me the joy, love and peace it is right to bring to the manger of my Lord. Raise in me a sober reverence for the God who acted there, hearty gratitude for the life begun there, and a spirited resolution to serve the Father and Son.