Sunday, December 7, 2008

Serendipity Sunday: Advent, Week 2...

Serendipity: An instance of making a delightful and unexpected discovery
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

~The Holy Bible Isaiah 9:6~

Last week I shared with you one of our holiday traditions of setting aside a special time as a family to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. This year we decided to have family worship by participating in Advent. Discovering Advent was a delightful and unexpected discovery indeed. Advent is a period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. The season of Advent serves as a duel reminder of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting that Christians today endure as they wait for the second coming of Christ. It is marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation, and preparation. This is a time that our family looks forward to as we draw away from the busy work of the holiday season and focus upon the meaning of the manger.

To learn more about the meaning of Advent and how our family prepares for it, follow this link.

Last week we lit the first candle on our Advent wreath. The first candle is traditionally the candle of expectation or hope. It draws attention to the
anticipation of the coming of the Messiah that weaves its way like a golden thread through Old Testament history. We also added wreath symbols of a white dove, that symbolizes the gift of the Holy spirit and a lamb, which symbolizes Christ's care and watchfulness over us. This weeks candle is the candle of peace, which represents the peace Christ brought into the world.

This week we will have four guests joining our family and I so look forward to this evening. I invite you to join us in worship too. Following is an outline for our celebration tonight.

We have our worship time by soft candle light and the twinkling white lights in the garland draped around the room. Tea lights illumine the Nativity scene
and soft instrumental carols play in the background as family and guests arrive. The Advent wreath sets at the ready in the center of the room resting on a table in front of the sofa.

We will gather around the room and quite ourselves in a holy hush as someone opens in prayer. A review of last weeks ceremony and symbols will be for the benefit of those not in attendance last week. A guest will light the candle from last week as well as one for this week.

This weeks memory verse to remind us of the light of the world is John 8:12,
which states just that, "I am the light of the world."

We will open to God's Word and read Luke 1:26-37 as well as Isaiah 7:14 about the annunciation to Mary and the naming of the Messiah. The wreath symbols for this week are and angel and a white ribbon with the words, "Jesus ~ Immanuel ~ God With Us", written on it. After reading the passage, the symbols will be explained.

The angel represents the angel that came to Mary to tell her of the "advent" or great event to come, the birth of Christ. The angel is placed in the wreath.
The white ribbon will be twined through the evergreen boughs and the explanation given for its symbol. We know that the baby born to Mary was Jesus, but He was also called by another name, Immanuel. This name was given in the Old Testament to tell about Christ's coming. It means, "God with us." God is with us all the time. The white ribbon symbolizes purity and the virgin birth. The lettering is gold and reminds us of royalty ~ a king who arrived in a stable.We will share the ways we have been blessed with the gift of peace and God's presence this past year and close with a hymn story of Silent Night, quietly listening or singing along to a recording.

We will close in prayer being thankful for the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding and guards our heart and mind in Christ Jesus, for the protection He always offers, and for His presence which never leaves us.

Tonight's refreshments will be a selection of holiday sweets: homemade fudge, almond dipped pretzels, and smores have been requested along with hot mint chocolate cocoa, iced mocha, and hot tea for me! Thank you for joining us for this refreshing of the spirit, renewal of the hope that is found in Christ, and respite from the busy work of the season. I invite you to return next week and join us in worship for week three of Advent. I hope you each have a Merry Christmas!

Miss Sandy


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Thank you for providing the framework for this week's Advent Observance. It's so helpful of you!

May your time this evening with guests be blessed and meaningful.

Anonymous said...

The Advent Wreath is beautiful and I love that you share your special devotional time with friends. The fellowship with family & friends is the greatest gift. Have a blessed evening.

Susie said...

Sounds like you are going to have a wonderful evening with family and friends. Thanks for sharing your traditions with us.

I love your nativity, very pretty.

Living Life with a Joyful Heart said...

What a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family and most important time with our Lord. I love reading your blog their is such a peace about it.
By any chance is your Nativity set a Hummel set?
Have a blessed evening

Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your advent cellebrations with us. Your wreath is so pretty and I love how you place the little lamb in it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing me in for your celebration. Vicki Page

Kristi said...

How beautiful! Your blog is amazing and wonderful! Blessings to you.

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