Sunday, November 27 is the start of the liturgical year, four Sundays before Christmas. Advent is celebrated by most Christian churches worldwide. Taken from the Latin word “Adventus”, which means “coming”, Advent has been celebrated since the 6th century.
Traditionally this time is observed as a period of self-examination and seeking forgiveness as the church looks forward to Christ’s Second Coming and celebration of Christmas, Christ’s First Coming. The color purple, an Easter color used for Lent and it’s period of self-examination, is also used primarily during Advent to signify self-examination during this time.[img_assist|nid=158834|title=Advent Candle|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=233]
Advent wreaths using three purple candles and one rose candle are lit during this time, one candle per week for each of the four weeks. The candle to be lit tomorrow is the Hope candle. The circle of the wreath and its evergreens are emblematic of God’s endless mercy and undying love. The entire theme of Advent should be one of anxious hopefulness with faith and trust in God’s prophetic promises.
Unfortunately, the majority of Christendom has converted this season to one of self-service, gaudy gifts to one another, incurring loads of debt in return, while at the same time losing the significance of the Advent season.
Many Anchorage churches are offering Advent services tomorrow. I’ve attended Advent services and posted comments previously in this blog. Results of a Google search of many of these reviews can be obtained by clicking here .
Congregations visited during Advent have included:
-Trinity Presbyterian Church
-Amazing Grace Lutheran
-First Baptist Church
-First United Methodist Church
-Saint John UMC
-St Mary Episcopal Church
-Holy Cross Parish
I encourage you to seek out a congregation to observe the wonderful tradition of Advent. The Revised Common Lectionary scripture readings for the 1st Sunday of Advent are Isaiah 64:1-9, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37.