Advent: welcoming Jesus
If you grew up like me, you grew up in a home that did a great job of celebrating the birth of Jesus each year, but without much liturgy. I didn’t grow up in a liturgical church so it should be no surprise that liturgy wasn’t a part of our our celebrations. In fact, I didn’t really know what Advent was until I was a worship pastor at a church and my lead pastor said we should have Advent candles in our services this season. I said, absolutely…then quickly googled “advent candles”.
Since that time I have a better understanding of Advent. For those of you who grew up like me, let me take a moment to give you some basics. Advent is the season of time leading up to Christmas. It starts 4 Sundays prior to Christmas. It is the beginning of the liturgical calendar, which would also include dates such as Palm Sunday, Good Friday & Easter.
But these simple facts don’t get at the heart of Advent. If you stop there, Advent is just another thing we do at church – but Advent is so much more. In Advent we are given a season of expectant waiting for the coming of the baby Jesus. It gives us a chance to slow down during a season that is constantly speeding up all around us.
It’s a season of preparation.
What could be a better way to go through the Advent season than with an attitude of welcome towards Jesus. Just as the shepherds welcomed the baby Jesus lying in a manger into this world, we can welcome him into our our lives and daily routines this Advent season.
Welcome Jesus into your home. Welcome Him into your conversations.
Welcome Him into your workplace. (I can think of no better way to ensure that you are the same person at home as you are at work than by welcoming Him into these times with you.)
How about welcoming Jesus into your confrontations, bad attitudes, parenting, arguments, marriage.
You see, as we welcome Jesus into these spaces we are giving Him an opportunity and the authority to bring transformation. To transform our bad attitudes to good attitudes. To transform our parenting, marriages, and friendships into relationship that reflect the forgiveness and grace of our Lord. In our confrontations we no longer go for the jugular, but bring peace and love (with truth).
So let’s purposefully welcome Jesus in this Advent season.
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We are celebrating Advent as well in our church. I think it is important for those of us who grew up in pentecostal and evangelical churches like I did to get to know what Advent is all about..
The four candles:
The first represents Isaiah and other prophets in the bible that predicted the coming of Jesus.
The second represents the bible.
The third represents Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The fourth represents John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, who told the people in Israel to get ready for Jesus’ teaching.
The middle or separate candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Jesus.
Being people of the Book shouldn’t we want to know everything we can about why the book was written?
I have been reading a wonderful book called The Archko Volume; the authors who wrote this book in the late 1800’s researched and studied many of the thousands of ancient manuscripts found not only at the Vatican but also at Constantinople. One of the chapters is Jonathan’s interview with the Bethlehem shepherds, letter of Melker, Priest of the Synagogue at Bethlehem.
What amazing details from such old manuscripts, but then again, they wrote down everything then. There is also Caiaphas’ report to the Sanhedrin concerning the execution of Jesus and also his report to the Sanhedrin of the resurrection of Jesus and Jesus appearing to him behind a locked door in his own home after the resurrection.
Let us never forget that His destiny was to change our destiny. Merry CHRISTmas.
@Gary – yes, it’s true those of us who grew up with a pentecostal heritage tend to not have has much experience with Advent. Advent can be very meaningful, when practiced with the right heart — much like lent.
What I have found in my research, and I’ll admit it’s not exhaustive and therefore not an expert opinion, the candles can mean different things depending on your church tradition. In fact, even within the liturgical calendar there is room to vary what you are celebrating from year to year. When I first started researching Advent it was very confusing.
Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Advent Roundup 4 | Worship Links
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