Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Over time, the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. The anticipation of Christ ’s coming – His birth – gave way to picturesque post cards of happiness, as well as good cheer to all men and women. This translates into massive gift giving, decorating homes with trees, lights, ornaments and front lawns with huge blow up dolls, which really do not make sense.
This brings me to Advent, which is the prelude to Christmas. Many Churches today do not practice or have forgotten the true meaning. For those recognizing Advent, they see it as the beginning of the Liturgical Calendar and a time to celebrate the anticipated arrival of Christ’s birth. In part, this is true but in actuality, Advent is God’s prophetic word being fulfilled from the Old Testament through its journey of the New Testament and our current wait of Our Savior’s second coming.
Taking a fresh look at what Advent means we have to first understand it derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival,” which is translated from the Greek word parousia that is commonly used to refer to the coming of Christ.
God’s Advent Promise
The people of Israel were walking in darkness; they desired to be freed from continuous threats of attach from Assyria. God’s prophetic word proclaimed he would send someone to save them. The Prophet Isaiah first made the people aware of the Messianic Message; God was with his people, He had not forgotten their struggle and he was sending a savior. Isaiah 7:14 reveals the first sign of “The Coming” – Advent. …The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. The nations eagerly awaited “the coming/arrival of their savior. In part, Isaiah 9:2-7 tells us …a child is born and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called wonderful counselor, Mighty God.
The History of the Wreath
From an historical perspective during the 4th and 5th century, Advent was believed to be a season of preparation for baptism of new Christians at the feast of Epiphany during the January feast. Christians would pray and fast for 40 days but these preparations had little or no connection to Advent or Christmas.
In the Old Testament the children of Israel did not know Christ, Hebrew Rabbis taught the Jewish people that a Messiah was coming and they emphasized the need to embrace the King’s arrival and the need for holy living.
Christians today have always known of Jesus and they symbolically celebrate Christ’s arrival for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. It also represents the beginning of the Liturgical year – the cycle of seasons in church. Somewhere in this process, the true meaning of Advent gave way to:
The Candles - Symbolize the light of God coming into the world through Christ’s birth
The four outer candles - Symbolic of waiting four centuries before Christ’s birth
The White candle – A representation of Christ and His incarnation
The True Meaning of Advent
Through God’s word and the incarnation of Christ, we know that The Messiah has already come. We can affirm the promise of Jesus through his forgiving grace and power. Yet, over time customs and traditions diluted the true meaning of Advent. Today it still has the same meaning and significance as told by the Prophet Isaiah only difference Advent as we know it should signify our anticipation for the second coming of the Messiah.
The Second Advent
The Season of Advent is:
· Expectation - God’s promise of the coming of the Messiah, He came - Luke 1:26-37. Our expectation through Advent today is prepare for Christ’s second coming
· Preparation - Advent allows Christians to wait and hope for the glorious return. Just as John the Baptist brought hope to the people as they anticipated the coming of Christ. Mark 1:1-8.
· Proclamation – As Christians, it is our responsibility to proclaim the good news, the consequences of sin and unfaithfulness can be very severe. Let the people know Christ has come to forgive us of our sins and to prepare for Christ coming again. Mark 1:14-15
· Revelation – God discloses himself through Christ for all humankind. God’s hope is that we all live a committed holy life and not turn cold toward him as we await the return of Jesus. Matthew 24:9-14
· Celebration - Our celebration is the day Christ returns. The fulfillment of the true Advent season would be complete. What a glorious day it will be when Jesus returns Revelation 1:7
As we begin the Advent Season this is a prime opportunity to do more than just observe Advent and its lifeless church tradition. Continue to proactively study the true meaning of Advent and incorporate God’s awesome promise that Jesus will return soon!
Subscribe in a reader