Archive for December, 2009

What is Advent? (Reposting)

adventwreath

(This is a previous posting for the holiday season)

I must say this is about my most favorite time of the year. Steven Curtis Chapman in his song Christmas is all in the heart states “And in my sleeps eyes the spark still glows, Well I guess there’s just some things a kid never outgrows,” Which is so me. I am one of those “strange people” that think about Christmas all year long. I will be in a store in the middle of summer, and find something I want to give to someone at Christmas. (I will say it makes for an interesting time when December comes and I can’t remember everything I have bought throughout the year – maybe I need to Twitter myself every time I get something?)

But this post is more about the celebration of Advent, to which I was introduced by my lovely bride. I had heard of it, but not really sure what it was all about. Well, after a few years of celebrating Advent, I’d like to help out those like me who are in the dark about the wreath and candles that sit in the middle of many tables this time of year.

Advent is a celebration by Christians of the events preceeding the birth of the Christ, Jesus the savior. It is typically celebrated every sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Select Scriptures are read, mostly from the Old Testament, that are prophecies or events that look to the coming of the Messiah. The candles and wreath are symbols best described churchyear.net:

“The candles symbolize the light of Christ coming into the world. The evergreen (of the wreath) symbolizes renewal in Christ, the kind of renewal hoped for by those before Christ’s first coming, and the ultimate renewal we long for in Christ’s second coming. The circular shape symbolizes the completeness of God.”

(See their great website at http://www.churchyear.net/adventwreath.html)

The cool thing about Advent is that there are no set Scriptures to read each year. There are so many that can be used. We typically will use the story of the fall in the Garden of Eden for week 1 since that is where it all started. Some other favorites of ours are Isaiah 53 – the promise of salvation through “His stripes” and Micah 5:2 that Bethlehem was where He would be born. A simple Google search will provide a plethora of sites that have suggested Advent readings for you to use.

I encourage all who consider themselves part of the body of Christ who have not typically observed Advent, do find out more about the celebration, and make it a part of your CHRISTMAS tradition.

Merry Christmas to All!

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T’was the Month Before Christmas

T’was the month before Christmas

When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand.

See the PC Police had taken away,

The reason for Christmas – no one could say.

The children were told by their schools not to sing,

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say

December 25th is just a ‘ Holiday ‘.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod

Something was changing, something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was nowhere to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears

You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty

Are words that were used to intimidate me.

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded

The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’

Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS! not Happy Holiday…

Why the 25th? (and other “Christmasy” questions)

I am one of those people that likes to ask “why?” And around Christmas, there are many opportunities to ask “why?” Like, why do we celebrate Jesus’ Birthday on December 25? He obviously wasn’t born in the winter (I don’t know a shepherd that would hang out a whole winter night with their sheep – actually, I don’t know ANY shepherds that I can think of…).

How did Santa come into the picture (Funny that Turkey is involved in his story – you’d think he’d be part of Thanksgiving).

Why do we smooch under a poisonous weed and red berries (Hey, not that I’m complaining!)

Well, here is a really good website that is quite accurate (I have verified many of the historical statements myself) about the many traditions of Christmas. I will be using this to share with my kids about why we do some of our traditions (why DO we kidnap a poor, defenseless tree, DRAG it into our homes, TRY to keep it alive for a couple weeks, and COVER it with ceramic balls and inflated vegetables???)

So when your kids ask, “Dad, why do we do this?” you can now answer them confidently. Or sound really smart for that one question in Trivial Pursuit…

http://www.just4kidsmagazine.com/justask/dec.html


This Month’s Verse:

"For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

-- Isaiah 9:6-7

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