What is Advent?

by | Dec 15, 2015

December is one of the busiest months of the year for many people. This is ironic since for the majority of the 2,000 years since the birth of Christ, the time leading up to Christmas has been set aside for slowing down and joining ancient Israel in their….
  • Christmas Parties 70%
  • Shopping 80%
  • Traveling 75%
Awaiting Christ Messiah

Advent is a Season…

…Of ancient christian origins. It began to be more formally celebrated during the 4th century A.D. …Of symbolic worship. Advent is a symbolic time set aside to remember the time of ancient Israel’s wait for the Messiah. It’s also a time to remember, with hope, our own wait for the Second Coming of Christ. ….is characterized by a spiritual posture of slowing down and contemplating.
  • ….Of Waiting 90%
  • ….Of contemplation. 95%
  • ….Of Feeling our Need 80%
  • …Of Expecting the Messiah, our True Desire, to Arrive 100%

ANCIENT ISRAEL’S WAIT AND OUR OWN

So, this Advent season is about joining the ancient story of Israel as they waited for the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, to be born. We feel their need as they struggled under the oppression of wars and sin and exile. We long with them for the Messiah King to come and set all things right.

We also understand more after that first long-awaited Christmas. We understand that the prophecies of the coming Messiah were to be accomplished in two different acts in Israel’s future: Jesus’ first coming, then his second coming Jesus first coming accomplished an awe-inspiring display of sacrificial love on the cross and power over death through his resurrection. His completed work of salvation brings great transformational hope to every heart that trusts in His perfect life and ultimate sacrifice. When we trust that his sacrifice completely paid our penalty, we can be sure that no matter what evil we’ve done, we can hide in Christ’s love and find forgiveness and unconditional acceptance with God. If we put our trust in Christ, we are perfectly secure in God’s love no matter how we may stumble in our daily walk with Him. In this relationship with God, we are being changed day by day from the inside out, but we are not yet perfect, nor will we be until Christ comes back for us at the end of the age.

When He comes, sin and evil will be no more. Pain and suffering and oppression will be no more. He will even do away with sickness and death itself. This is why we still wait for the return of our Christ and our God to perfect our hearts, our bodies, and our entire world. Everything will be made whole and right on the Day of His Appearance. Our imperfections will be healed as we see the Holy One again, face-to-face.

Advent is about this longing, this expectant wait for Christ to arrive in our lives and in our world with perfect healing in His wings.

In Christ’s first coming,

He began the process of changing

every believing heart by His power and love.

In Christ’s second coming He will complete our hearts’ inward transformation, AND He will transform the entire outward physical creation to reflect Perfect Truth, Perfect Love, and Perfect Justice. The final state of the world will reflect His Holy character, that same holy character that has already begun to slowly grow within believing hearts.

HOW WE CELEBRATE ADVENT

Advent wreath

We feel that the Advent liturgy is not something we’re required to follow, but some years we choose to follow the Advent liturgy as a beautiful tool helping us connect with the Biblical spiritual journey of Christians from ages past. It is also an amazing reminder of a deep and vital aspect of our own journey as Christians waiting for Christ’s return. At Redeemer, we choose to use many of the ancient patterns of Advent, many of which have been preserved and developed in Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and Roman Catholic traditions. We also feel the freedom to make these patterns our own to fit our current situation and culture.

The traditional colors of Christmas are red and green, but the Advent season is symbolized through the colors purple, pink, and white:

PURPLE

symbolizes deep sobriety as we wait for our deepest needs to be met in Christ. It also reminds us of the ancient purple robes of royalty as we wait for our True King to arrive.

Pink Advent Worship Candle

PINK

symbolizes JOY!

WHITE

symbolizes the pure and perfect presence of Christ, and our hope of seeing Him soon!

During our advent services, we light a new candle each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. By Christmas all five candles are lit, including the white “Christ” candle symbolizing the Christ has now been born!  There is some ceremony around the lighting of the candles, including readings from the old Testament and from some other historic and traditional Christian sources. We want to, as much as possible, recreate the living story of waiting along with saints of the Old and New Testament era.

Our worship songs during advent include our regular worship songs as well as Christmas and traditional advent carols like, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” that express the longing for the arrival of Christ, The Biblical teaching times during Advent season are also themed around the wait for our Great Christ. This year we are exploring the spiritual treasures from the first two chapters of Luke.

EXPERIENCE OUR ADVENT SERVICES!

We hope you join us as Sundays in December at 11 AM as we explore the Christmas story anew, and as we journey together through this season of remembering, waiting, and expecting that Christ is coming into our lives to meet our deepest needs.