For the next 3 weeks, I’ll be posting reflections based on the season of Advent. Each Sunday, I’ll bring a thought that I hope will help our community do two things: 1) prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ birth – Christmas, and 2) keep our community connected while we are on winter break. This first intro post is coming to you late Monday since we celebrated the beginning of Advent together at Flagler on Sunday night. There will be an additional post this week, then all other posts on the Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. We may not all be in the same place this holiday season, but we can find ways to encourage each other on the journey until we get back in the new year.
Advent may be a new idea for some of you. Advent is a season where we remember the coming of Jesus in Bethlehem; and await his return to reign on earth. As Israel waited for the coming of the Messiah, we wait for the Spirit to ignite the Church through the retelling of this story; and anticipate God’s kingdom one day fully established throughout the universe. The traditional way of observing Advent is with Advent candles: 3 purple (or blue) candles, one pink candle and one white candle. We ‘name’ these candles with themes to prepare us for a greater experience of Christmas. Different Christian traditions have used a variety of names and themes for their Advent candles. CCW will use the themes hope, love, joy and peace – all leading to the final theme of Jesus Christ himself. He’s the one we’re waiting for during Advent, and the one we celebrate at Christmas.
You can join us on the journey in a number of ways. You can simply read the posts each week as a personal devotion. You can supplement these posts with the scriptures that will be included at the end of each reflection. You can also post your thoughts and responses to the post on one of our campus pages (Flagler, JU, UNF or The Gathering). Finally, you could run to Michael’s and buy a Advent Candle set like me.
Do what you need to do so that you don’t just rush to Christmas Day. God’s gift to us in the manger is worth our preparation, anticipation, and active waiting. I am looking forward to these next few weeks and I hope you’ll join me in some way on the Advent journey.