Each year, along with the season of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and furiously shopping for Christmas presents comes another special season: Advent. The word “advent” is derived from the Latin word “coming”. The four weeks of Advent are representative of the time we await the coming of Jesus Christ here on earth.
People honor Advent in a number of ways, some of which include counting down with an Advent Calendar where various characters from the famous Christmas Eve scene make their appearance on the calendar as the days count down ’til Christmas. A more formal way that the church often recognizes Advent with is the Advent candles (and sometimes wreath). This includes four candles, which are lit one after another for each Sunday of Advent. The use of these candles began in Germany and dates back even prior to the Reformation (1517). By the beginning of the 1900’s, the tradition included three purple candles and one pink candle. The purple candles are meant to represent Jesus’ royalty and kingship. The pink candle is to be lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, also called Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” means “rejoice” in Latin, and this day is in reference to Philippians 4:4 which states “Rejoice…the Lord is near.”
The anticipatory time of Advent is not only one of the most spirit-filled and exciting times of the year for Christians, but it is also the beginning of the church calendar. It begins the church year because it references the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus’ incarnation. Following Advent comes Christmas (about His birth), Epiphany (His miracles and ministry), Lent (His journey to the cross), Easter (His resurrection), Ascension (the 40 days after Easter) and finally Pentecost (the sending of the Holy Spirit).
The coming of Jesus is represented in three ways during Advent: past, present and future. The past “coming” is represented through readings of Old Testament prophecies of his birth in Bethlehem. The present is represented through readings which highlight the way He works through us today through Word and Sacrament, and the future through the prophecies in the New Testament about His second coming.
As you begin the month of December with anticipation of seeing your families, exchanging gifts and celebrating Christmas together, take time to prepare your heart to once again commemorate the coming of Jesus all those years ago. He was called “Emmanuel”, God with us, and we are blessed to have a God who loved us enough to break the boundaries between earth and heaven to make Himself known to us.
If you would like to sign up for free Lutheran devotionals to be sent your email inbox daily throughout Advent, you can click here: Advent Devotional
Information for this piece was taken from ©The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, www.lcms.org/faqs
“TABOO” is the long-awaited follow up to the 2013 UNWRAPPED National Campus Ministry Conference, which was attended by more than 400 college students and campus-ministry workers from around the country. Attendees represented 90-plus college and university campuses, including students from our Concordia universities.
We will once again be returning to Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., for three days of study, worship, fun and fellowship with college students from around the country. This year, we will be addressing a lot of timely topics related to marriage, dating and sexuality. We will learn, grow and struggle through some rather tough issues together, as well as make many lasting connections that can continue to be fostered even after we head home to our local colleges and universities.
For more information, visit the website: http://lcms.org/events/taboo
Email Mercedes.Smith@att.net if you are interested in getting a group together to go.
We would like to announce that we have settled on our 2014-2015 roster of sextons for the sexton program and are no longer accepting applications. As always, we had many, many, many more applicants than we could accept for the limited number of openings. Thank you to all of those who applied and interviewed.
If you are still interested in living here for the 2014-2015 year (or summer 2015, or later), you may add yourself to the callback list (available on the sexton program page) so that you’ll be contacted should a space open up. (Note that this for a callback list, not a waitlist, meaning newly added people have just as good of a chance at getting in as those who were on the list earlier.) Thank you!
We have a lovely Seder (passover) ceremonial dinner here at ULC, on Maundy Thursday (April 17th), with home-cooked foods that were all kinds of delicious, and a beautiful set-up. Please head over to our facebook to see and comment on the rest of the photos.