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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa.  He is amongst others a blogger and lyrics writer. To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you continue in
My word, you really are My disciples.
You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free."

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Nov 28

Written by: Andries
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:42:30 AM  RssIcon

The Season of Advent is the first Season of the Christian Calendar.
During the four Sundays before Christmas – we remember that Jesus came to our world as a babe, that he is coming into our lives, churches and communities today - and that he will return to our world on the Day of the Lord.
 
The Season of Advent is observed during the four Sundays before Christmas Day. each Sunday with a distinct traditional theme.
The word “Advent” essentially means “coming” and “expecting”.
 
A. It is a time for hope. During the Advent Season we in faith are looking forward to the day when the kingdom of Jesus will bring all distress to an end. And Jesus who promised to return to us says: “Yes, I am coming soon." (Rev 22:20).
 
B. It is a time to seek peace with God and each other. During this season we remember that Jesus wants to come into our lives, here and now, through his Spirit’s work in us, and through us come to a lost world in dire need of him.
 
C. It is a time to be filled with joy, because God became a man and was born as a baby on that first Christmas, to become our Redeemer and King!
 
D. Ultimately it is a time for love. God so much loved us that he sent his Son, that we may not perish but have eternal life. This love we share with our fellow believers and with the whole world.
 
We remember during Advent that Jesus Christ promised to physically come to us again, to create a new heaven and earth in which we will live for all eternity! This expectation inspires us to believe that the coming of the Lord brings hope, peace, joy and love to our lives, our churches and our world!
 
Central Message of the Season of Advent:   God gave his Son
During the four Advent Sundays before Christmas day, we will remember that Christ took on our weak, human nature and became one of us.   As the Apostle Paul puts it in 2 Cor 5: 21:  God made him who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.
 
This is what Christ did for us on that first Christmas day. In taking on “weak human flesh”, he associated himself with our dilemma which is the result of our mistakes, disobedience and sin. He came to live the life that God requires and we cannot accomplish, and lived it perfectly, holy and without sin, in our place! The Son of God became our brother and will never leave nor forsake us.
 
During the Season of Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, we want to celebrate that when God gave the gift of salvation, he did not send new laws and rules through which to figure out how we can be saved. No, he sent his Son to save us.
The Advent message remains that (John 3:16) God so much loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
 
Let’s trust in the Son. Let’s rejoice because he did everything we could not do, to save us! Let’s pray that he will come back soon to dry all our tears and grant us his complete peace and joy.   
Let’s wait with the same urgent hope and love of the believers in the New Testament Church for the victorious and conquering return of Christ, our King.
 
The Advent Candles
In many churches the four Advent candles lit on the four Sundays represent the four weeks of Advent.  Three purple and one pink candle speaks to the Advent themes.
Purple, the liturgical colour for Advent reminds us of the royal majesty of the King that was born. The one pink candle speaks of the joy of the Season.
The progressive lighting of one more candle every Advent Sunday symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead.
The lighting of candles during this Season signifies Christ, the Light of the world.
 
Each candle represents one of the Advent themes:
The first Sunday we light the candle of Hope,
Second Sunday the candle of Peace,
Third Sunday the pink candle of Joy
and the fourth Sunday the candle of Love.
 
Often congregations involve children and teens to each Sunday light the next candle, involving them not only in the exciting countdown to Christmas day, but instill the expectation of Christ coming into our lives, and Christ returning to us on the Day of the Lord.
 
Advent prayers while we light the Advent candles during the services each Sunday:
First Advent Sunday: Gracious God, in the living of our busy daily lives, keep us ever ready, ever faithful and ever hopeful for the day of Christ’s return. As we worship you, may this hope be born into our lives.
 
Second Advent Sunday:  Loving God, while we patiently wait for Christ’s return and for your peace to ultimately prevail, enable each of us to work for peaceful solutions to the various conflicts which abound in our lives and our world.  As we worship you, may your peace be born into our lives.
 
Third Advent Sunday:  Merciful God, while we patiently wait for Christ’s coming again, may each of us rejoice in our salvation; and may that joy permeate all aspects of our lives and be freely shared with others. As we worship you, grant us your joy.
 
Fourth Advent Sunday:  Gracious Lord, while we patiently wait for Christ’s coming again, inspire us when we celebrate Christmas now so soon to come, to marvel on the fact that your love for each of us knows no bounds. May this love be mirrored in all aspects of our lives as we freely share it with others.
 
In family practice, the Advent candles are usually lit at home on Sundays at lunch or dinner time, after the blessing of the food. The same prayers above and one of the readings can be part of this beautiful and edifying ancient Christian practice to follow at home.
 
Suggested Readings during the Season of Advent:
First Advent Sunday:  Isaiah 64:1-9;  Psalm 80:1-7; 16-18; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37.
 
Second Advent Sunday: Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8
 
Third Advent Sunday:  Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Luke 1:47-55; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
 
Fourth Advent Sunday:  2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
  

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