1st Advent Reading – Promise
Advent is a season of preparation before Christmas. It is a time to lay aside all the business of the season – carol singing, bazaars, pageants, parties, shopping and school concerts – and remember the true meaning of Christmas. That is why we celebrate Advent for the four weeks before Christmas. Advent means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’ and refers to the coming of Jesus. In Advent we see a threefold coming of the Messiah:
1. A celebration of His first coming – born to Mary as her Son, Jesus.
2. Preparation for His second coming at the end of the world as judge.
3. Celebration of His coming into our hearts through rebirth.
The Advent wreath with lighted candles is a graphic reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. The evergreen symbolizes the eternal life which Christ offers, and the circle represents Christ’s unending presence with us.
Lighting a candle is a simple yet profound act. It is a testimony to the power of light over darkness. Even the light of one candle can reveal our faces as we stand near the candle. As we light the candle, we begin our journey to Christmas, a day of joy and celebration.
Candle Lighting: The first candle on the Advent wreath is called the Promise candle, it opens the period that anticipates Christmas and remembers those who first spoke the promise of the coming Christ child.
Congregational Response: Today we light the candle recalling God’s promises and remembering the voice crying in the wilderness, urging the people to prepare the way of the coming Lord. We celebrate the announcement of the coming King and the greatness of God’s love reveled through the Christ child.
Congregational Prayer: Father, guide us in confession of our sins. We know that in the greatness of your love, you have promised to forgive us. Cleanse us as we prepare our lives for the coming of Jesus again. This we ask in His name. Amen.