The Season of Advent
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears.Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
Dear Second Episcopal District Family:
This magnificently beautiful familiar hymn quoted above, “O Come, O come, Emmanuel,” reminds us - the church, of the season of Advent, a time traditionally marked for remembering the years of preparation and consecration prior to the coming of the Messiah.
With that spirit of renewed Hope, Love, Joy and Peace, Arelis and I join with you in observing the season of Advent. In the liturgical calendar, Advent is the season leading up to Christmas, Advent 2018 begins on December 2 (the first day and First Sunday of the liturgical year) and ends on Monday, December 24, 2018.
Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas. Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come.
Many Christian Churches mark this time by lighting Advent Candles with appropriate readings for each Sunday. The four outer candles incorporated into the display represent the time of waiting and preparation for the Messiah during the four Sundays of Advent. As we light the candles symbolizing the power or Hope (or promise), Preparation (waiting or prophecy), Joy (peace), and Love (adoration), may we not only feel; but apply these powerful words in our daily living. On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is lit. This "Christ Candle" represents the life of Jesus Christ that has come to light the world. It represents purity. The Advent wreath circle, in which the candles are held reminds us of God Himself, eternal and endlessly merciful. It is evergreen - reminding us of the hope of eternal life.
Even as we enter the Advent Season, our nation and the nations of the world have been rocked by recent acts of cruelty and evil. In these days where so many feel a sense of hopelessness, sadness, and rejection in their churches, communities state and nation; as others spill hatred from their mouths and commit acts of violence and terrorism against others; where we have cold war and military strife among nations; and so many other ills that plague humankind on a daily basis, let the Church arise to her renewed hope and expectancy. Our prayer is that each of us in this season of Advent do more than observe a church tradition. May the Church passionately encourage each other with the awesome promise that Jesus readies Himself even now to return in splendor and majesty - in a much different manner than His first advent. Until He returns, may we as Christians remember Advent and the reason for the Christmas Season. Let us passionately and diligently use our gifts and talents for advancing His Kingdom on earth.
“Help us, Father, to demonstrate our confidence, passion, and love to a hurting world. May our lives, our thoughts, and our words reflect our thanks to you for sending your Son, the Light of the World, to demonstrate authentic love. Fill our hearts with your presence. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen."
Arelis and I pray that you have a blessed and joyful and peace-filled Advent. And May God be with you.
In the Spirit of Advancing the Kingdom, we remain
James Levert and Arelis Beevers Davis, Servant Leaders