The Church Year begins with Advent.
Instead of viewing the Church year as linear, as a timeline for example, the Church Year is cyclical. Advent flows out of the recent narrative of the End Times and helps prepare us for Christmas. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning coming. Adventus was used to signify the approach of someone of dignity, power, and glory with the power to bestow favor; or exact penalty. The coming of God’s Son is the adventus par excellence.
In Advent, we focus on three comings:
the coming of the Messiah at Christmas, prophesied throughout the history and Scriptures of Old Testament Israel;
the coming again, in glory, of the Messiah Who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords;
and the coming of this Christ into each of our lives – personally received by faith through the Word and Sacraments.
We are a people who desire instant results and gratification.
In our secular society, there is no place for Advent.
As soon as the decorations from Hallowe’en are stored away, it seems that we “jump” immediately to the preparations and celebration of Christmas.
However, Advent is a time of expectation and hope.
We reflect the yearning for the Messiah shown in Old Testament Israel.
Advent unfolds the Glory of Christ’s Coming again so that while we wait, we occupy our time with repentance and faith. Advent is a time of patient waiting on God.
Faith permits us to know that God works in His Own Good Time to fulfill His Purposes.
Advent is also a time of preparation for Christmas.
At Resurrection, we prepare for the celebration of Christmas in a variety of ways:
The Advent Wreath has five candles: the central white Christ Candle which is lit at Christmas; and three blue candles and one pink candle (the “joy” candle) – one each for the four Sundays in Advent preceding Christmas. Traditionally, each candle represents an important facet from the story of the Incarnation of Immanuel (God With Us) – prophecy, the town of Bethlehem, the shepherds, the angels; representing hope, peace, joy, love.
We also celebrate the decorations used in our Sanctuary and the symbolism they represent at the Hanging of the Greens service.
During the season of Advent, we read some of the Old Testament prophecies which are fulfilled in the Incarnation.
In the evening Worship Service, Wednesday, December 11, we will reflect with a Festival of Advent Lessons and Carols.
In the morning Sanctuary Worship Services this year, on the 3rd Sunday of Advent (December 15), we will celebrate the Carols of Christmas.
Resurrection at Christmas
The name Christmas comes from “Christ Mass”; and refers to the liturgy celebrated on the day when Christ came among us, as one of us. We celebrate the mystery of salvation revealed in the birth of Christ, Who is both our King and our Servant; the lowly Son of David, Who is also the glorious Son of God and holds the cosmos in His Hands.
The celebration of Christmas in Jerusalem includes Christians assembling at night in the Grotto of the Nativity, in Bethlehem – the traditional location of Christ’s birth. They return to Jerusalem, arriving there in time for a Christmas Day celebration at dawn in the Church of the Resurrection.
At this church in Cary, NC, also named Resurrection, we celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation – all of God wrapped up in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, announced by the whole Angelic Choir of Heaven, worshiped by lowly shepherds and majestic Wise Men – in variety of worship forms.
You are encouraged to make the time in your busy holiday schedules to worship frequently, in many ways, with gratitude and thanksgiving, the Nativity of Jesus the Christ, Immanuel – God With Us - the true Reason for the Season.