Welcome to Emmanuel United Church of Christ

In the ancient world, various peoples lit fires to mark the turning of the light into winter’s season and to pray for the return of the light. The church has Christianized that practice in the lighting of the Advent wreath.

Our Advent scriptures are often filled with foreboding shadows, but never without a glimpse of the promise of light. The ultimate reality is to communicate that, even in the midst of lengthening night, the elements of our faith (hope, peace, joy, love) offer light to our lives and to our world. To us, these candles are signs of the growing light of Christ who is coming again. Until the dawning of that Great Day, we watch and wait for Christ’s coming in all fullness into the darkness of our world. As we watch and wait let us do so remembering the promises of God with prayer.

November 30 is the first Sunday of Advent which continues through Christmas Eve. We will be looking inward and upward as we ready ourselves for the coming of Christ. We will see the candles on the Advent wreath lit each Sunday symbolizing Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love and finally the Christ candle – the light — which will be lit on Christmas Eve. Members of our church family will be lighting the candles which is a very meaningful time for them. Let us pray earnestly to prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming into our hearts and lives.

Another tidbit about Christmas wreaths. The wreath is of course a circle – reminding us of the perfection and eternity of God. Many wreaths are decorated with evergreen branches. The evergreen, like the circle, is a symbol of eternity – but also of life. Holly is sometimes used instead of – or with – the evergreen. The sharp points of the leaves of the Holly remind us of Christ’s crown of thorns. The red berries remind us of his blood. There is a story that holly berries were white until Christ’s blood fell on them – causing them to be red ever since. And the candles that are used with the wreaths? — Christ is, of course, the light of the world – hence the candles.

During this time of year when all is hustle and bustle and shopping and holiday get-togethers are in the forefront of minds — just take a few minutes every day to lift up your voices in thanksgiving to God for all that we have been given and keep a smile on your face and in your heart.

Merry Christmas to all!


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