Borderlands Mission Area
Ardal Genhadaeth Y Gororau
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“Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins of the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve. If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown.\r\nThe word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in his first Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent… Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate. Scripture reading for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgement on sin, and the hope of eternal life.

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In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that that Christ has come, that he is present in the word today, and that he will come in power. That acknowledgement provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live “between the times” and are called faithful steward of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s in-breaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which “all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption,” it also confesses its own responsibility as a people commissioned to “love the Lord God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.

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The Advent wreath is an increasingly popular symbol of the beginning of the Church year in many churches as well as homes. It is a circular evergreen wreath (real or artificial) with five candles, four around the wreath and one in the center. Since the wreath is symbolic and a vehicle to tell the Christmas story, there are various ways to understand the symbolism. The exact meaning to the various aspects of the wreath is as important as the story to which it invites us to listen, and participate.\r\nThe first candle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or Hope (or in some traditions, Prophesy). This draws attention to the coming of the Anointed One, a Messiah that weaves its way like a golden thread through Old Testament history.

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The remaining three candles of Advent may be associated with different aspects of the Advent story in different churches, or even in different years. Usually they are organized around characters or themes as a way to unfold the story and direct attention to the celebrations and worship of the season. So, the sequence for the remaing three Sundays might be Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels, Or Love, Joy, and Peace. Or John the Baptist, Mary the Magi. Or the Annunciation, Proclamation, Fulfillment. Whatever sequence is used the Scripture readings, prayers, lighting of candles, the participation of worshipers in the service, all are geared to unfolding the story of redemption through God’s grace in the Incarnation.”

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I hope you have found this explanation of the season of Advent and its colours helpful in some way. Advent is liturgical season of its own. It is a season of reflection and prayer it gives us an opportunity to look back on year that has gone and look forward to Christmas.

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I do look forward to welcoming you all during Advent. Advent is a gentle season which allows people exploring faith or indeed coming to faith to come into church in one of the most prayerful of seasons. I would encourage you to invite a friend to come along and experience the journey of Advent with us.

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