THE COLUMNS – DECEMBER

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Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays. This year Advent begins on Sunday, November 29 and continues through Christmas Eve. Advent derives from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” The season proclaims the comings of the Christ—whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually in Word and Spirit, and whose return in final victory we anticipate. Each year Advent calls the community of faith to prepare for these comings; historically, the season was marked by fasts for preparation. Each Sunday of Advent has its distinctive theme: Christ’s coming in final victory (First Sunday), John the Baptist (Second and Third Sundays), and the events immediately preceding the birth of Jesus Christ (Fourth Sunday).

Churches provide a variety of services of worship for Advent: Hanging of the Greens; Blessing of the Chrismon Tree; Blessing of the Advent Wreath; an Advent Service of Lessons and Carols; and Las Posadas (a service of shelter for the Holy Family). In our church each Sunday of Advent we have a service of lighting the Advent candles. An appointed family or individuals will light one additional candle until all four are lighted. Finally, on Christmas Eve, the middle white candle is lighted. The person lighting the candles or another person will say the words provided for each Sunday.

Purple paraments, stoles, and banners are used during the worship services of Advent. Visuals of the season at First Methodist include: the Advent wreath with three purple candles, one pink candle, and one central white Christ candle for Christmas Eve; evergreen wreaths and garlands; and two Chrismon trees covered with white monograms of Christ.

Families with children and youth particularly enjoy this season. All are invited to worship on these four Sundays of Advent: November 29, and December 6, 13, and 20 concluding with three services of Holy Communion on Christmas Eve.

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