Gardendale Nazarene

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Advent and Expectation | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

Advent and Expectation

We are just two days from the beginning of Advent. The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." Advent celebrates a truth about God– the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.

The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.

During Advent, we place an Advent Wreath in our sanctuary. The wreath contains five candles and each week we light another candle in the wreath.

One of my seminary professors writes, "The light of the advent candles itself becomes an important symbol of the season. The light reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. It also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect the light of God's grace to others (Isa 42:6).

The progression in the lighting of the candles symbolizes the various aspects of our waiting experience. As the candles are lighted over the four week period, it also symbolizes the darkness of fear and hopelessness receding and the shadows of sin falling away as more and more light is shed into the world. The flame of each new candle reminds the worshippers that something is happening and that more is yet to come. Finally, the light that has come into the world is plainly visible as the Christ candle is lighted at Christmas, and worshippers rejoice over the fact that the hope and promise of long ago have been realized."

I invite you to make this Advent season a central part of your life. We have many activities planned and hope that you will join your church family as we celebrate this great season!