Sunday, 29 November 2009

Advent 2009 Begins

Today is the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the new Church Year and a time of anticipation. Our Minister takes Advent each year as a time to assess where we are- to look back at what we have achieved in the year gone by, look forward to what we need to do to improve anything for the future, and to give thanks for where we are right now. We have mid-week Services in different Churches around the Parish which are lovely calm times in the presence of our God and separate to the hurly-burly which the World calls Christmas. For me, in Advent the Church buildings become once more, a haven of tranquil contemplation.

Having an Advent Wreath in Church is not traditional for us, but it helps to think about what it symbolises so each Sunday in Advent two children light another of the candles. Last year one of them almost set the Dean's surplice alight but luckily he can move fast! (all those years of playing rugby I should think!)

The First Candle symbolises Hope, the Hope we have in Christ as well as the Hope the Prophets had in their prophecies of the Messiah.

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah Ch 60 v 1-3

Just as a footnote, this is our traditional way of counting off the days in Advent.

Much as we enjoy Advent Calendars, gift boxes and wreaths, this is the way we do it, usually lighting the candle at supper time when we are all sitting at the table. When the candle burns down to the pin it begins to tilt and it is blown out for another day. To me nothing beats the excitement of watching the candle burn down to the pin!

When you sit watching a candle you can see why the Church used to pagan symbolism of a Lamp for the birth of Jesus, Light of the World. You can also see why so many faiths have Celebrations of Light, Diwali I know from East Africa, but Light in all its symbolism is important to everyone.

I wish the Hope of Advent to you all this week.

In Timeless Treasures I am putting up a Jesse Tree. Please visit?


collettakay said...

I love the candle idea. Thanks!

Jane's Art said...

Love the candle idea!! Each of the children has their own advent calender hanging on the wall.
We also have an advent wreath in our church..... my husband made it years ago from the pews of a neighboring church that was building a new sanctuary.

Kathy said...

I love the season of Advent. Some years I have had the 5th graders do an ink drawing of an advent wreath and candles. Then we finish it off with watercolor and oil paint crayons. They are beautiful. Especially after the children decide what week of advent to depict and add a transparent wash of metallic gold to show the glow of a lit candle. I'll have to see if I can fit this lesson in in the next 2 weeks.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

On my way to church yesterday, I was thinking that I really don't like Christmas so much. At church, I realized it's all the trappings that have nothing to do with Jesus that I don't like.

I enjoyed your post, because it shows us where to focus during the holidays.


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