Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas season and the Church year for most Western churches. The word “Advent” means “arrival” or “coming” in Latin and represents the approach of Christ’s birth and the awaiting of Christ’s second coming. It is comprised of the four Sundays before Christmas day, starting on the Sunday closest to November 30th and ending on Christmas.

For Christians, Advent is a time of reflection about the amazing gift God gave to us in the person of His Son who came to live among us on earth. It is also an opportunity to restore Jesus to His rightful place as the center of our holiday celebrations.

The prevailing themes of the Advent season, and the symbolism behind activities churches and families share, are expectation and hope, preparation and peach, joy and sharing, and most of all, love. These themes are represented in the candles of the Advent. Here’s one example of the representation of candles, along with a Scripture reference:

Candle of Hope

Romans 15:12-13

Candle of Peace

Luke 3:4-6

Candle of Joy

Luke 2:7-15

Candle of Love

John 3:16-17

Christ Candle

John 1:29 & 3:1-8

Each Sunday, marking a new week in Advent, a candle is lit (including candles from previous weeks) until we arrive at the white, center candle which stands for Christ. All Advent activities and traditions are grounded in the truth of Scripture, even though the symbolism and stories surrounding them have changed over time. The focus continues to be the great news that the Messiah was and is coming.

Read this additional Advent resource called “Waiting”.

Christmas Eve Services

ADVENT TREE  This Christmas season we have a tremendous opportunity to impact our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, all the way to the ends of the earth through the RPC Advent Tree. This special tree located in the foyer is wrapped with hundreds of paper ornaments with the words pray, give, share, go and serve printed on them, each carrying with it a missional encouragement or action.

Please take an ornament or two and walk out the mission of Christ of loving your neighbor, making disciples of all nations.