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Advent and Christmas 2014
It can’t be Advent already! Friends, Christmas will come whether we get ready for it or not. Christ will come whether we’re ready or not. So now the greens have been hung, the candles have been placed, and the first Advent candle has been lit.
So as we approach, meet and go through this season of Advent we will begin the cycle of the church year all over again. We will look forward to Christ’s advent into the world. We will gaze into the face of the babe of Bethlehem who came to lay down His life as a ransom for our tired souls.
Advent is the season when we prepare ourselves to receive God’s gift of Jesus. It is a time of “getting ready” for the celebration of Christmas.
Advent invites us to fill the cup of today with a full measure of tomorrow. Advent is the season of the Christian church for expectation, waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
And what our children need this Christmas is not a bunch of things. What they need is time with people who love them, people who will affirm them. Don’t spend more time at the mall then at the manger. Don’t focus too much on what is under the tree and too little on who is in the stable. Don’t get so caught up in the superficial busy-ness of Christmas that you forget the essential business of Christ.
My gift to you as your Pastor this Advent season is to bring the heartbeat of the living Christ to our congregations. To be there for you in the spirit of Christ in your joy’s and your sorrows from the cradle to the grave.
Lois and I will receive many wonderful gifts I am certain of that, but one of the most treasured gifts that we will receive this year is the gift of your presence in our lives.
Make unwrapping Heaven’s gift the first gift on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas and have a blessed and joyous New Year.
Grace, Peace & Love,
Advent (“coming”) is a season of four weeks, four Sundays. The season proclaims the coming of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. Advent is a time to celebrate light in the midst of darkness, a time of preparation, anticipation, and hope. The season when we prepare ourselves to receive God’s gift of Jesus.
We have the “Advent Wreath” and Candles to help us celebrate. The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself. His eternity, grace and endless mercy, which has no beginning and no end.
The candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His Son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of advent. The light of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World, and reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect God’s grace to others.
We light the first purple candle, the candle of Hope, on the first Sunday of Advent (November 30). The second purple candle, the candle of Peace, on the second Sunday. The third candle is pink and is the candle of Joy; the fourth candle is purple and is the candle of Love. And on Christmas Eve/Day we light the white candle, the Christ candle.
Advent invites us to fill the cup of today with a full measure of tomorrow. Advent is the season of the Christian church, Howarth United Methodist Church, for expectation, waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
The service begins at 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Year after year, we are drawn to this night with its carols, its candlelight, and the combined fragrance of pine and poinsettia and the gentle poetry of Luke’s story.
On this evening we invite you to set aside the busyness, fatigue, pressure, baking and buying of the season for a moment. This evening is an opportunity to let go of your harried rushing and relax in the presence of God and loved ones and, for a time, receive a gift instead of trying to give one.
We hope this gift will help to transform the rest of your activities so that they will take on some of the qualities of the sacred and holy that are at the heart of Christmas.
On this night we invite you to do the most difficult thing that can be asked during this season, and that is to do nothing, to approach this night with open hands and hearts and do nothing. This night is about receiving. This night’s gift is yours for the asking and without effort.
The Christmas Eve Candlelight Service reminds us, in the shallowness of the materialism and glitter of our times, of those things that really matter: God, family, our responsibility for others. Christmas, a celebration of love!
We want to be your church and we invite you to come home for the holidays. Make unwrapping Heaven’s gift the first gift on Christmas morning.
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