Well actually, I’m 2 weeks late! November 30 is ‘New Years Day’ for the church.
Advent in the first season of the Church year, a season to celebrate and to prepare for the arrival. It is a time to look back at the past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future. During advent, Church leaders often wear purple, a royal colour, to signify that a King has come, yet is coming again.
In church, we often have 4 advent candles
Candle 1 Hope – God speaks hope to the world through the church
Eph 3:10-11 God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in his church. This was his plan from all eternity, and it has now been carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Candle 2 Peace – the Prince of Peace, the Messiah was promised – at least 400 times in the Old Testmament. Isaiah, 700 years BC, wrote this:
Isa 9:6 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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Candle 3 Love – the God of love was on his way. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. When John was only 8 days old, his father Zechariah prayed over him, saying: And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
This fulfilled the words of Isaiah 40 ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'”
Candle 4 Joy – celebrates Mary’s joy and faith
After life changing news from the angel, she totally trusts God and declares in Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
Candle 5 Birth of Jesus – the King has arrived
Luke 2:6-7 While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And he gave him the name Jesus.
So in Advent, we need to prepare, not only our homes but our hearts for celebration. To share the good news that Jesus has come, that Christmas points to Easter and our lives can be changed forever.
Invite people to come to your church this week to sing carols and to hear the truth about Christmas. Many people said that last year more visitors came to their carol services than for a long time. People are searching. Pray that they come.
At Christmas time, when we receive presents we don’t really need, God offers us a gift we cannot do without.