TEXT: Topical, textual references
INTRO: Have you ever really considered all the symbols we use to prepare us to get in the right mood to welcome Christmas? Advent is yet another practice that can help us to get ready for Christmas in a very spiritual way.
I. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ADVENT?
A. The term Advent: from the Latin word “adventus” and the Greek term “Parousia” which means “a coming or arrival” referring of course, to the coming of Christ as the long-expected Messiah, the Savior for us all.
B. Who celebrates Advent? All Christians can take part in the process and receive the blessings of growing to know the events leading up to Christmas and the hope of ongoing events celebrating Christ.
II. HOW IS ADVENT TO BE CELEBRATED?
A. In many churches Advent is included as part of what is called The Hanging of the Greens,” which is basically the decoration of the church or sanctuary, for Christmas. In other cases, the Advent process is celebrated in the weekly services leading up to and through Christmas.
B. Advent involves two primary activities:
1.) First is the reading of Scripture.
2.) Second is the lighting of 5 candles.
a.) We will light the first candle shortly and explain its significance at the point.
b.) The second candle is called the candle of Preparation or the Bethlehem candle.
c.) The third candle is called the candle of Proclamation or the Shepherds candle.
d.) The fourth candle is called the candle of Revelation or the Angel’s candle.
e.) The fifth and final candle is called the Christ candle and it reminds us that God is faithful to His promises and the Messiah has indeed come down to us.
3.) Our response to the lighting of each candle is to let God’s Spirit lead us into contemplation of each part of God’s plan to show His love to us and offer us salvation.
III. THE CANDLE OF EXPECTATION/PROPHETS/HOPE
A. The foretelling of the Prophets:
Is. 7:14, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel.”
Is. 9:6-7, “For a Child will be born for us, a Son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The domain will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.”
Lighting of the first candle:
This candle reminds us that salvation was planned before the world began.