Advent Is Here and Christmas Is Coming
The sights, sounds, and atmosphere are beginning to change around us! Advent
is here and Christmas is coming soon! Shalimar UMC will enter this season this
coming Sunday and the liturgical season of Advent begins December 1st.
In the coming weeks, we will experience music, preaching, special programs, and
liturgy that will prepare us for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The answer to
the question “are you ready for Christmas” can be answered by taking the
time to prepare our hearts during the season of Advent.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day. The calendar
length of Advent varies as sometimes it occurs three days following
Thanksgiving and some years ten days after. This year, Advent begins on
December 1 and concludes at dusk on Christmas Eve. What is the origin of Advent and
what does it mean?
According to Hoyt Hickman, Advent’s roots began over 1500 years ago. “As early as
the fourth as the late fourth century, Christians saw that
Christmas-Epiphany needed a preparatory season comparable to what Lent was becoming in
the Easter Cycle. This eventually became Advent as we know it, which begins on the fourth
Sunday before Christmas and continues to sunset on Christmas Eve. The word advent means
‘coming.’ In Advent the church has celebrated its hope and expectancy in the comings of Christ
- past, present, and future. We identify with those in ancient Israel who looked
forward to the coming of the Messiah” (Hoyt Hickman, A Primer for Church Worship).
This year at Shalimar we will be preaching from Isaiah 9:6 during Advent.
During the four week journey, we will prepare our hearts to grasp more fully the
meaning of the scripture “For unto us a child is born, to us a child
is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be
called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince
of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Each week we will focus on the different names lifted up
in this great passage.
May the Lord bless you to have a most meaningful Advent ever! May these days lead us
to the manger and to celebrate for the first time the good news of
the birth of Jesus!