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Posts Tagged ‘#advent2016’

Sometimes I am rendered speechless, breathless …

sky

After a day that was dark and dreary, I awoke to fog illuminated by the sun behind. Soon to follow were skies of cyan blue. This little corner of the world shone as if the heavens, themselves, were smiling down.

Today is about beauty,

about light,

about hope.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season of the coming of the Christ, the Saviour. As the first Sunday of Advent, it is the day of HOPE.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:5

The coming of the Christ, for the Jews, meant the hope of the fulfillment of the prophets foretelling of the freedom for their people. The second coming of Christ, for all, means an end to death and dying, with the return of Christ comes the rising of the dead.

My son started a job this weekend, at a Christmas tree farm. He awoke to torrential rains which continued all day long. Thankfully, he (and I) had ensured that he had rain gear at the ready, and so he was prepared.

Titus 2:11-15 tells us that we should be preparing for this second coming of Christ:

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”

As we walk these days, through the Advent season, may our first steps be secure in the hope that shines in this dark world … rendering us speechless, breathless …

 

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This coming weekend, many Christian churches will begin to celebrate the season of Advent. It is a season on the Christian calendar which is intended for preparation of the coming celebration of birth of Jesus. Advent, as a word (in the Latin) means ‘coming’ and it is the coming of the Son of God, in human form, that we celebrate.

As with each year, the beginning of Advent follows two other days, familiar to North Americans, American Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving is celebrated by the Americans.
According to Wikipedia, American Thanksgiving “became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” I believe, though, that it began, unofficially, with a feasting of the pilgrims and native Americans, after the safe arrival in the new land.

Friday, November 25, Black Friday is celebrated by North American shoppers.
Black Friday was a name given to the day following Thanksgiving, in Philadelphia, because of the increased traffic of that day. It has also been associated with the belief that many retailers do not go ‘into the black’ (financially) until that day … personally I refer to it as Black-eye Friday … just sayin’.

Then there is Sunday, December 27, when the celebration of Advent is begun by Christian churches.
The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

All of these celebrations are greatly subscribed to, all are annual events, and none of them have to be negative.

The celebration, known as Thanksgiving, is one filled with food, family and thanks. Though we live best, live healthiest, if we live with thanksgiving in our hearts every day of the year. To be truly thankful is to give thanks to God, even when our outward circumstances do not make us feel thankful.

John 1:1-4 tells us what we can always be thankful for:

“At the beginning of time the Word already was; and God had the Word abiding with him, and the Word was God. He abode, at the beginning of time, with God. It was through him that all things came into being, and without him came nothing that has come to be. In him there was life, and that life was the light of men.

Then there is Black Friday, the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. Somehow, though, this tradition has gotten dark … very dark. Each year there are stories of violence and aggression in the shopping malls. Greed and selfish ambition seem to extinguish the light that we receive through giving thanks.

And, once again, John (1:5) seems to remind us of the light to come:

“And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to master it”

Finally we have Sunday … Advent. It is anticipation personified … literally! It begins this coming Sunday, and includes each of the four weeks prior to Christmas Day. This is the season of remembering the waiting that the Jews have done prior to (and since) the birth of the Christ the Messiah.

And, back to John (1:6-9):

“A man appeared, sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, so that through him all men might learn to believe. He was not the Light; he was sent to bear witness to the light. There is one who enlightens every soul born into the world; he was the true Light. 

Jesus is that light, that John (the Baptist) was sent to witness. It is Jesus who gives us reason to be thankful. In our giving of gifts, we should be reminded that the gift of God, himself, was given for the world.

We wait, always on the lookout, for the presence of wonder.

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