Christmas Church Services

Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve Services
                                           3 pm and 7 pm at Grace
Sunday, December 25,     Christmas Day Worship at 9 am
The season of advent
The first season of the liturgical year is Advent. This year it begins November 27th and ends on December 24th.  As Christians, we use symbols to express visually the basic tenets of our faith and as reminders of the pilgrimage of our life in Christ. Symbols can have heightened meaning for us when associated with particular seasons of that journey. One such symbol is the Advent wreath. The Advent wreath has its roots in the pre-Christian practices of northern Europe. People sought the return of the sun in the dark time of the year (at the winter solstice) by lighting candles and fires. As early as the middle Ages, Christians used fire and light to represent Christ's coming into the world. Using this same symbolism, the Advent wreath developed a few centuries ago in Germany as a sign of the waiting and hopeful expectation of the return in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wreath, a circle, came to represent the eternal victory over death through Jesus Christ. The evergreens were a sign of the faithfulness of God to God’s people, even in death, and the lighted candles were a reminder of the light of Christ brought into the world.

First Advent Candle, The Light of Hope: The first candle symbolizes hope. Also known as the “Prophecy Candle” in memory of the prophets, particularly Isaiah, who prophesied the birth of Christ. It symbolizes the anticipation felt in awaiting the coming Messiah.

Second Advent Candle, The Light of Peace: The second candle signifies peace. In sending Christ, God sent us peace that passes all understanding.  Because of Christ, we can live our lives with a sense of calm assurance.  We anticipate the birth of our Savior. “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men” (Luke 2:14)..

Third Advent Candle, The Light of Joy: The third candle represents joy. The third Sunday of Advent is meant to remind us of the world's joy at the birth of Jesus.  Our cups overflow with goodness and grace, and we rejoice in the promise of eternal life.

Fourth Advent Candle, The Light of Love: The fourth candle is a symbol of Christ’s eternal love for us as well as a reminder that we have been instructed to love others as we love ourselves.  Because God is love, and because we were created in God’s image, we ourselves are the embodiment of God’s love here on earth.

The Christ Candle:  On Christmas Eve we light all four candles and the Christ Candle celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior.  Prayer:  God of light, on Christmas Eve we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We thank you for this most precious of Christmas gifts and we ask that you keep the hope, peace, joy and love of this season in our hearts, now and throughout the coming year.  Emmanuel – God is with us now and forevermore.  Amen
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