The start of the Christmas season
by Holly Hartman
Advent is the period preceding the Christmas season. It begins on the Sunday nearest November 30, the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, and covers four Sundays. Because the day it begins changes from year to year, so does the length of each Advent season. In 2015, Advent begins on 29 November.
The word advent, from Latin, means “the coming.” For centuries, Advent has been a time of spiritual reflection as well as cheer and anticipation. Even as the Christmas season has become more secular-with advertisers urging holiday gift-givers to buy and buy some more-Advent still brings joy and the observance of ancient customs. Christian families find quiet moments lighting candles in the Advent wreath, and children use Advent calendars to count the days until Christmas.
The History of Advent
Advent has probably been observed since the fourth century. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism.
During the Middle Ages, Advent became associated with preparation for the Second Coming. In early days Advent lasted from November 11, the feast of St. Martin, until Christmas Day. Advent was considered a pre-Christmas season of Lent when Christians devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. The Orthodox Eastern Church observes a similar Lenten season, from November 15 until Christmas, rather than Advent.
Many Christians still view Advent as a season to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus. In the last fifty years, however, it has also come to be thought of as a time of anticipating the Nativity, on Christmas Day.
Advent wreaths have their origins in the folk traditions of northern Europe, where in the deep of winter people lit candles on wheel-shaped bundles of evergreen. Both the evergreen and the circular shape symbolized ongoing life. The candlelight gave comfort at this darkest time of the year, as people looked forward to the longer days of spring.
Later, Eastern European Christians adopted this practice. By the sixteenth century, they were making Advent wreaths much as we know them today. An advent wreath traditionally contains four candles-three purple and one rose. Purple dyes were one so rare and costly that they were associated with royalty; the Roman Catholic Church has long used this colour around Christmas and Easter to honour Jesus. The three purple candles in the Advent wreath symbolize hope, peace, and love. These candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent. The rose candle, which symbolizes joy, is usually lit on the third Sunday.
Sometimes a fifth candle is placed inside the Advent wreath. This candle is lit on Christmas Day. It is white, the colour associated with angels and the birth of Jesus.
Because Advent wreaths are an informal celebration, not all are the same. Instead of purple candles, some people use blue, which recalls the colour of the night sky before daylight returns. Others use all white candles.
Please would you attend a church congregation meeting on Tuesday 1 December at 18h00. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the state of affairs of the church and there will be a question and answer session. May God guide you to this meeting as we need as many church members as possible to be present.
If you did not receive a Thanks Offering envelope, please request one from the info desk or Welcome Team.
We all have something we want to thank God for and what better way than by ensuring that His work continues.
Just to let you know that the office will be closed from 21 December 2015 and will reopen on 4 January 2016. Should you need to contact Ryan, his number is 083 391 8612 (and the number is also on the after-hours line).
Dear friends in Christ,
With Christmas just around the corner most of us look forward to celebrating this special time with our families.
How many times do we consider that there are children who cannot spend this special time with their families for reasons we don’t know?
This is what I have in mind. There are three children’s homes that have been identified that we could support. This is how we would go about it:
- There will be a Christmas tree in the foyer with cards tied onto the branches
- Each card will have the child’s name, the children’s home they come from and what their wish is
- Could I ask that we bring along a gift for the specific child mentioned on the wish card?
- That you bring along that gift to church for the specific child and place it under the Christmas tree in the foyer by no later than the 29th of November 2015.
- We will then distribute these gifts to the various children in the first week of December.
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Yours in Christ,
MES is having their last street outreach for the year on Thursday, 12 November 2015. You are invited to come take part in the evening and to come share soup, bread and the living Word with the less-fortunate people living on the streets.
Place: MES offices, 6 Kempton Road, Kempton Park.
Time: 18:30, will go out at 19:00.
For further information contact Aloma Swanepoel on 011 024 4580 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The reading for this coming Sunday is Luke 15:11-32
The topic Ryan will be focusing on is “Walking Away from Home”
The reading for this coming Sunday is Luke 15:11-32
The topic Ryan will be focusing on is “Walking Away From Home”
- It is your attitude at the beginning of a task more than anything else that will determine your success or failure.
- It is your attitude towards life which will determine life’s attitude towards you. Despite many people’s belief to the contrary, life plays no favourites.
- You control your attitude. If you are negative it is because you have decided to be negative, not because of other people or circumstances.
- Act as if you have a good attitude. Remember actions trigger feelings just as feelings trigger actions.
- Before a person can achieve the kind of results he wants he must first become that person. He must then think, walk, talk, act and conduct himself in all of his affairs, as would the person he wishes to become.
- Treat everybody as the most important person in the world.
- Attitudes are based on assumptions. In order to change attitudes one must first change one’s assumptions.
- Develop the attitude that there are more reasons why you should succeed than reasons why you should fail.
- When you are faced with a problem, adopt the attitude that you can and will solve it.
- We become what we think about. Control your thoughts and you will control your life.
- Radiate the attitude of confidence, of wellbeing, of a person who know where he is going. You will then find good things happening to you right away.
- In order to develop a good attitude, take charge first thing in the morning.
Do you say “Good morning, Lord” or “Good Lord, it’s morning”?
The order form for Disciplines 2016 is at the info desk if you would like to order a copy – cost is R165.00 per book.
Don’t forget to add a loaf of bread to your shopping list to help feed the poor.
Once again it is that time of the year when the Samaritans start to collect and prepare for the Christmas parcel packing. At this stage we are looking for second hand handbags (to pack toiletries), empty 2L Ice Cream Containers and stationery for school children. Many thanks.