Sunday, December 14, 2008

Serendipity Sunday: Advent, Week 3...

Serendipity: An instance of making a delightful and unexpected discovery
The word Advent means "coming"or "arrival". The entire season of Advent is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in His First Advent and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in His Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking an over 2000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all creation can be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation (bringing something to its completion) of what we anticipate (being complete in Christ). Advent reflects emphasis on the past(Christ's birth), the future(Christ's return), and the present (accepting and celebrating God's truth about who Christ is and why He came) in the hope of eternal life. It is a most serendipitous to come to know these truths.

Advent is one of the few Christian festivals that can be observed in the home as well as in the church. In its association with Christmas, Advent is a natural time to involve your family in activities at home that directly connect with worship at church. Advent provides an opportunity for family devotion and prayer together. It helps to reinforce, strengthen, teach, and share your faith. I invite you to join us in worship this evening.

NOTE: By this week the fresh greens on your wreath may have begun to dry out. Before the celebration, you might wish to replace them with fresh ones which will last through the remainder of Advent.

Week three of Advent brings us to the lighting of the third candle on the Advent Wreath. We have lit the candle of expectation and hope as well as the candle of peace. This week they will be joined by the candle of joy. It marks a shift from the more solemn tone of the first two Sundays of Advent that focus more on preparation and hope to a more joyous atmosphere of anticipation and expectancy. This candle marks the joy at the impending Nativity of Jesus.This candle also commemorates the visit of the Magi, bringing focus to the joy of worshiping the new found King. It also symbolizes the joy of the proclamation made to the Shepherds who were aiding in the fields, and the adoration they expressed as they knelt before the Christ Child in the manger. It is also the candle of Mary's joy, which represents how Mary felt about being used by God for such a special task. It also expresses the humility Mary felt in being chosen to bear the Christ Child.

I am not sure who all will show up for tonight's celebration. My hope and prayer it that it will be wh
o most needs to be here. So, lets dim the lights as soft instrumental carols play in the background and worship the King! Greetings are exchanged and anticipation reigns as we open in a word of prayer. A guest will light the candles from week 1, week 2, and a new candle for tonight. If you have new guests be sure to go over the reason of the celebration and the wreath, candle, and symbol meanings.

This weeks memory verse will remind us of the light of life that is found in Him. "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4)

We will open God's Holy Word and read Luke 2:8-14 as well as Matthew 2:1-12 which speaks of the angels appearing to the Shepherds, the Shepherds seeking out Jesus, the guidance of the star, and the visit of the Wise Men. The wreath symbols for this week are a star and items to represent gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After the reading of the passage, the symbols are explained.

The star represents the star that shown for the Shepherds in the fields while they were tending their sheep. The star is placed in the circle of the wreath.

The items that represent gold, frankincense, and myrrh, symbolize the gifts that were presented to the Christ Child by the Wise Men. It is said that these gifts were given because they were worthy of a King. The gold represents a King. The frankincense represents deity. This word means "God, His Supreme Being, and Divine Nature". And last we have myrrh, which represents the spices used in the Bible to anoint a person who was going to die. All of these symbolize who Christ was, a king, diving in being, destined to die for the sins of the world. Each symbol is placed in the outer circle of the wreath.With this these thoughts in mind, we will close in prayer and rejoice in music. Hymn stories for either one or both "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" or "Little Town of Bethlehem" will be shared. We will listen and if desired, sing along with CD recordings of both.Our evening will draw to a close with refreshments being served. Hearts full we will joy in this special time together. Thank you for joining our family in worship this evening. My hope is that this week you will be filled with abundant joy, overflowing, and spreading to all those you come in contact with. I invite you to return next week for week 4 of Advent. I will add the conclusion celebration to next weeks post which is traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Miss Sandy


Anonymous said...

Thank you Sandy for sharing your Advent wreath with us. I enjoy each weeks' Bible verses and songs & feel as though I am part of your celebration.

Vee said...

First of all, how frustrating Blogger is being. I couldn't post any comments for quite some time early this morning. Hope that it straightens up. ;>

Thank you, thank you, thank you. We have so enjoyed this time together. We've not had any guests in, but if one were to show, we'd certainly encourage him to join us in our little celebration. Hope that your evening is wonderful and I'm quite certain that it will be!

Julieann said...

I so enjoyed your Advent post--you wrote so beautifully, there was no need for a picture:)


KathyB. said...

Thank-you for a time of worship here with you AND in my study. I don't think the lack of pictures hindered this post at all,thank-you again, and special blessings on you and yours, because HE DOES LIVE !

bluemuf said...

Thank you Miss Sandy for sharing your advent with all of us. I have been enjoying each weeks worship.

Hugs Karen

Susie said...

You know I did not know what the 3 gifts symbolized. That was interesting to learn Sandy.

The 3rd candle was lighted at church today also. Then this evening we had our Christmas program which was wonderful. I hope your evening was as great you had envisioned.

Heather ~Pretty Petals said...

What a beautiful post Sandy! I love all of your decorations and especially your handmade ornaments.

Thank you for joining the party and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!! xoxo

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