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It’s Advent Season…

November 28th, 2015 by stephanie

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Advent Wreath.

It dawned on me this morning that it’s time to dig out the Christmas items. I can’t believe the time is here for me to begin decorating the tree this week. Placed on top of  the holiday items that I store,  where I can grab it quickly and not have to dig (something I have learned finally over time) is my advent stuff.

If you don’t observe Advent in your home, you might consider it this year.

If it’s new to you, here’s a quick overview:

  • The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.”
  • The focus of the entire season is to be on the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ.
  • The celebration centers around his first Advent (and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.)

Anticipation. Looking and waiting for the coming King. The Anointed One. The Messiah. The hope He will bring.

To Christians, that Hope is the assurance of eternal life.

I have an Advent wreath in my house. This coming Sunday will be the 1st Sunday of Advent. So, in keeping with this tradition I will light the first candle in my advent wreath.

If you aren’t aware, each candle has a name. It’s interesting to see the variances on that topic. Something for you to google this weekend?

Regardless, why not simply light a candle this week and see it as a reminder that we live in the hope that He has come—and will come again.

Just my thoughts,
S.
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Advent: The 4th candle

December 21st, 2014 by stephanie

4th candle of Advent.

4th candle of Advent.

Today, we light the 4th and final candle in the wreathe. But not the very last candle of Advent.

The season of Anticipation is just about to hit a high note as the lonely candle is lit. It’s apparently known as the angels‘ candle, symboliing the angelic proclamation of joy at Christ’s birth .

So what about that other candle I mentioned?

There’s one more candle we can add and light together after this Sunday. Yes, a fifth candle. Let me tell you about it.

You can place a final candle in the center of your wreath (they usually suggest that it be white). It is the “Christ Candle” and you can light it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Just so you know, there are a variety of ways to celebrate advent and the tradition of the wreath. You may not celebrate the same way as your neighbor, but don’t let that throw you.

If you missed this tradition during the last few weeks, do this:

  • Search for a green wreathe (green represents eternity)
  • Locate three purple candles, one pink and one white, and
  • You’re good to go for next year. (They’ll be on special after the holidays if you want to prepare now. 🙂

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost here! The culmination of everything we’ve been looking forward to— together. And I can tell you, it’s been very special to share my annual tradition with YOU.

So, here’s to what has been, is, and is to come.
S.

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3rd Sunday of Advent: JOY

December 14th, 2014 by stephanie

Sheer joy!

Sheer Joy! Snoopy doing the happy dance.

This particular Sunday of Advent actually has its own name in the church world.

It’s called Gaudete Sunday You will find that it comes from the latin phrase

“Gaudete in Domino semper” – translation: Rejoice in the Lord always.
Thus our candle of Joy.

[You Marines caught that word Semper, as in Semper Fi = Always Faithful.]

If Advent is a bit new to you, here’s a quick recap: today, churches and homes around the world will light the third candle of the Advent wreath.

There are colors and symbolism of the season as well. The last two candles that were lit during the past two Sundays, were purple.

This week, a rose or pink colored candle will be lit.  This is called the JOY candle.

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The Pink Candle.

In certain what we call “High Church” environments, the priest will even change from his purple robes or sashes of the past two weeks into rose colored ones. The church as a whole will move from a season of fasting and repentance into one of joy. 

So, if you see any of these symbols or colors in wreaths this coming week, perhaps you will now feel a more “in the know”.  If anything, that will put a smile on your face.

And if you have a moment, read Luke Chapter 2. It’s the place that will share with the story where the shepherds were given “Tidings of great joy” which would be for all people.

EnJOY.

Stephanie

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Advent: 2nd Sunday…Peace

December 6th, 2014 by stephanie

Children's Christmas Pageant.

Children’s Christmas Pageant.

The 2nd Sunday of Advent.

I recall one particular Christmas pageant that I was in as a young girl. (Which seems of late, that tradition is becoming a sweet thing of the past.)We used to put on bathrobes and place bath towels on our heads. Sound familiar?

Magically, those items suddenly transformed us into shepherds. White bedsheets and tinsel halos were the costume of choice for those of us desiring to be angels. And Mary? Well, she was always in blue—of course.

Anyway, for this one particular production, I was the “third angel from the right”. Our job was to memorized the entire second chapter of the book of Luke. And you know what? To this day, I can still recite almost the entire chapter. (Something to be said for teaching young folks the Scriptures. It sticks!)

It’s interesting, because that’s the exact same passage that Linus, of the famed Peanuts gang, quotes on stage during the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (The TV classic which I still love to watch each year.)

There is one particular section of that section that continues to be one of my favorites. Especially during these confusing and difficult times. Maybe it will bring a sense of peace to your heart and to your corner of the world today:

Luke 2:8-14 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Last Sunday, churches and homes round the world lit the 1st candle of Advent. The Hope Candle.

This Sunday, we will light Advent’s second candle: the Peace candle. In a world that today doesn’t seem peaceful, peace is definitely one thing most of us can agree on as valuable, and what many of us hold dear.

Peace to you.

S.

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Are you ready for Advent?

November 28th, 2014 by stephanie

Hard to believe it, but the season of Advent is already here!

So, just what is Advent anyway?

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is to be on the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. It will center around his first Advent (and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.)

Basically, it’s simply about anticipation. Anticipation of the coming King. The Anointed One. The Messiah. And the hope He would bring. To Christians, that Hope is the assurance of eternal life.

You might have seen or even used one of those clever Advent calendars at some point in your past. You know the ones. Where a door is opened each day in December and a surprise awaits you behind it.

I have an Advent wreathe in my house. This coming Sunday will be the 1st Sunday of Advent. Those of us who follow this tradition will light the first candle in our advent wreathes. (There are four candles in those wreathes by the way.) Three are purple. One is pink You light one candle each Sunday.

Each candle will have a name, and this coming one will be the candle of HOPE. Advent used to be the beginning of the Church Year for most Christians in the Western world. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24).

Light a candle this week won’t you? And be reminded: we live in the hope that He has come.

By the way, we’ll send these blogs to your inbox, just click here!

Just my thoughts.
S.

PS: One of my favorite Christmas Hymns is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can give a listen here:

What Does The Advent Peace Candle & Charlie Brown Have in Common?

December 8th, 2013 by stephanie

christmas-wreaths-advent-wreath I remember one particular Christmas Pageant that I had a part in as a young girl.

We put on bathrobes and placed towels on our heads. Sound familiar? Magically, those items suddenly transformed us into shepherds. White bedsheets and tinsel halos were the costume of choice for those of us who were chosen to be angels. And Mary? Well, she was in blue, of course.

Anyway, for this one particular production, I was the third angel from the right, and we memorized the entire second chapter of the book of Luke. And you know what? To this day, I can still recite almost the entire thing. (Something to be said for teaching young folks the Scriptures. It sticks!)

It’s interesting, because that’s the same passage that Linus, of the famed Peanuts gang, quotes on stage during the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (The TV classic which I still love to watch each year.) I can still picture him on the stage with his blanket, and hearing him say, “…and on earth Peace, Good Will towards men.”

There is one particular section of the Luke passage that continues to be one of my favorites. Especially during these confusing and difficult times. Maybe it will bring a sense of peace to your heart and to your corner of the world today:

Luke 2:8-14 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Last Sunday, churches and homes round the world lit the 1st candle of Advent.

This Sunday, we light Advent’s second candle: the Peace candle. In a world where we don’t often see eye to eye, peace is definitely one thing most of us seem to agree on and what many of us hold dear.

Peace to you.

S.

 

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