Our season for God’s hope, peace, joy, and love

Christians are preparing this season of Advent season leading up to Christmas, as a religious time to celebrate Christ’s entry into the world.  For many in North America, it’s about going to Christmas parties, buying presents, and racking up financial debt to pay for presents for siblings, parents, children, nephews and aunts. For some, it might be a hard and lonely time.  For others, maybe it’s a mix of everything. I hope this season, people can slow down to reflect on the reason for Christmas.  We are a fast-moving society that’s in a hurry to get from place to place–from work to home to parties.

A prophet spoke of a people who didn’t take time to observe a Sabbath rest as God had commanded.  They hardened their hearts toward God. They didn’t slow down to celebrate God’s salvation and worship the Lord as God had designed for them to worship. In a way, our society today has also hardened our hearts toward the things of God.

In Hebrews 3:7, 12 and 15, it writes:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts“… “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness“… “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

As Christians, it is very important that we slow down and rest.  In our rest, God can come into our busy lives.  Manufactured hope, peace, joy and love do not last; it’s artificial.  But God sent Jesus into this world to bring us something genuine.  He came to:

  • bring us an eternal hope that leads to salvation so that we may be with God forever,
  • give us inner peace between a sinful humanity and a holy God,
  • give us real joy  that comes from God’s unconditional forgiveness,
  • share God’s love with us.

These things are eternal and lasts forever.  May God’s grace find its way into your lives this Christmas /Advent season.

Advent season, Advent liturgy, and the Advent wreath

The music for this litugy is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” from A Quiet Knowing Christmas by Jeff Johnson – http://www.ArkMusic.com

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. Advent season is celebrated in many churches with an Advent wreath. This first of four Sunday marks the beginning of the season of Advent. It begins with the first, ends with the fourth Sunday, and the grand finale is Christmas Day. The primary color of Advent is blue or purple, which symbolizes the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King. Many churches will have an Advent wreath made of evergreen boughs that will hold five candles. The first candle is traditionally the candle of Hope or Expectation (or Prophecy). It symbolizes the expectation of the soon and coming messiah. The third Sunday is marked by a pink or rose candle, which symbolizes Joy of the soon advent of Christ. Four candles are lit, one for each Sunday. On Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, the center candle called the Christ Candle is lit.