Another year is coming to a close. We at Emmanuel UCC are getting ready to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas, children are practicing songs for the cantata planned for one of our Sunday services (watch for announcements!), and Sunday, December 1st, 2019 is the first Sunday in the Advent season.
For many Christians unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be some confusion surrounding the meaning of the Advent season. Some people may know that the Advent season focuses on expectation and think that it serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. This is part of the story, but there’s more to Advent.
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and his first miracle at Cana. During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.
Each Sunday in the season of Advent we light a candle in the Advent wreath, culminating in the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve. This signifies the ushering in of the Light of the World, our savior Jesus Christ.
We would like nothing more than to share this light with our local community and the world. Emmanuel UCC has more to offer than ever before. That’s because of our belief in the Light of the World to sustain us, heal us, and share joy with us.
So, don’t hesitate in coming to worship in our sanctuary, and ushering in the season of renewal and birth.
My hope, as always, is that all find the peace on earth that only God cold bring, and that everyone’s Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas season be a joyous and healthy occasion.
Merry Christmas to all from me and my family to yours!