Advent Pieces

The colors of Advent have specific meanings, have you ever wondered about them? Tonight it’s a “101” class! Enjoy and learn! Thanks to crosswalk.com

The Meaning of the Advent Wreath | Advent candles, Advent wreath candles, Advent  candles meaning

The First Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Hope

The first Sunday of Advent leads our hearts to Hope. The purple color symbolizes royalty, repentance, and fasting. This week is a time for us to reflect on what it must have been like to feel the depth of God’s silence during the period between the Old Testament and New.

It is a time to ponder the prophecies about the promised Messiah. We begin the season with a mindset that creates hope in our hearts.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone (Isaiah 9:2).

For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore (Isaiah 9:6-7).

The Second Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Preparation

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the Hope candle and then we light the Preparation candle. First, hope blooms as we realize the prophecies about the Messiah are true. Then we begin to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord Jesus.

Imagine how Joseph must have rushed to prepare the crude stable for Mary and the soon-to-be-born Jesus. As we rush through the season of buying gifts and attending parties, may we pause and reflect on the words of Isaiah:

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5).

The Third Sunday of Advent’s Pink Candle Signifies Joy

The third Sunday of Advent brings us to Joy. The color pink represents rejoicing. We light the previous two purple candles and then light this week’s pink one. Rejoicing is our response to the Good News — joy that our Messiah has come.

The light of the world sweeps away the darkness in our world and in our hearts. We seek him and, in joy, find him.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

The Fourth Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we reach the culmination of Love. The Messiah comes in love and righteousness. The angels filled the sky with the greatest news of love.

They visited the lowest of the lows in Jewish society, the shepherds, with the most amazing birth announcement. This love is no respecter of persons but is for all who receive. As we light the four candles, we ponder,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).

Why Some Add a Fifth White Candle

A fifth candle is an optional addition to the traditional advent celebration and represents Christ. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The color white stands for purity, light, and victory.

Jesus is pure — without sin and because of his sacrifice he makes us white as snow. He is the light in the darkness and the victor over sin and death. We have life because of him.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isaiah 1:18).

A Prayer for Hope

Holy God, we begin this week of advent with a heart awakening to hope. You are our signpost lighting our way forward. Darkness may abound, but you reveal light. Night may linger, but hope comes in the morning because of you. May we turn our hearts turn toward you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer for Preparation

Holy God, we praise you for the hope you give us. As we move into the second week of Advent, we prepare our hearts to receive you. Just as Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem over rough terrain, so our lives lead us down rocky paths.

Pieces of garland

When Jesus was born in a lowly manger, there was no garland, no star for the tree, in fact, no decorations, because it wasn’t Christmas yet.  The people may have celebrated a new year, but it was mostly turning the pages of time.

Image result for silver garland on a tree

To me, garland is grand, sparkling, festive and very shiny.  Jesus deserved this kind of entrance into the world, didn’t He?  He was showered with expensive gifts from the three wise men, so perhaps that fills the void (for me)!

The real reason for the birth of this baby, was His destiny; He was born into greatness.  He would not only walk among human beings for 33 years of His life, but He would save us, from an empty life, one filled with sin, strife and pain.

Image result for baby jesus

Thank you God, for the miracle of Jesus’s birth, His life on earth with us and the promise of eternal life with You.  You are the garland on my tree!

 

Pieces of Curiosity

It is unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25th, or that the first Pilgrim meal was the 4th Thursday of the 11th month.   But specific dates don’t matter if there are circumstances beyond your control.  Often times various family groups have celebrations a day or two before the big holiday, or maybe even a month later.  What is important is honoring the holiday and spending time with people you love.

Image result for thank God for Thanksgiving and Christmas

May your Thanksgiving and family/friend time be greatly blessed!

 

Pieces of Christmas

What an incredible time of  year; the celebration of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our King, born into humble circumstances, who would walk this earth as a man, human in every sense, to bring light to a dark world.Image result for nativityKings brought their finest gifts, sheep and cows stood near their shepherds, a heavenly host sang Hallelujah, the brightest star shone in the sky, and the baby Jesus was held by his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph.  What a day it must’ve been for his heavenly Father, knowing all his son would accomplish, and give up.
Image result for the meaning of christmasAnother holiday has passed, but the message of His birth, and the sanctity of his love, never leaves the heart.

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
~Ada V. Hendricks
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.
~Christina Rossetti
Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love. ~Lucinda Franks

Oh! lovely voices of the sky
Which hymned the Saviour’s birth,
Are ye not singing still on high,
Ye that sang, “Peace on earth”?
~Felicia Hemans

 

 

Pieces of Christmas

I heard this lovely song titled “2000 Decembers Ago,” by Joy Williams – today on the radio, it is a piece of wonder and joy.  May you be inspired by the words:

2000 Decembers Ago
Did it feel like a night any different
Then at least a million before
Was there any rare expectation
Like there was some kind of somethin’ in store
Did the sky have to hold back the thunder
Did the moon find new reasons to glow
Could the children somehow sense the wonder
2000 Decembers Ago
Were the sheep as amazed as the shepherds
At the new star that lite up the sky
Did the willow trees whisper excitement
To the rivers and streams passing by
Did the joy ricochet off the mountains
‘Til it filled up the valleys below
Did all the world sense love abounding
2000 Decembers Ago
Was anyone able to look at the stable
And not see a child but a King


I wish I could hear back over the years
As heaven & nature sing, heaven and nature sing.
Did the walls of the barn start to tremble
With a glory they could not contain
Did anyone wake with the feeling
Of peace that they could not explain
Oh the love must have been overwhelming
As it warmed everyone in it’s flow
For all of the earth is still telling
Of 2000 Decembers ago
Was anyone able to look at the stable
And not see a child but a king
I wish I could hear back over the years
As heaven and nature sing, heaven and nature sing
Oh the love must have been overwhelming
2000 Decembers Ago

 

Pieces of Music

Do you listen to music?  For years I preferred talk radio, and I still do — but have now got hooked on Pandora, I can customize my selections right down to the specific group/band. It’s helped me explore Christian music.  I must say – that there is some good stuff out there!  AND I just discovered a Christmas Music station!  I can listen to it any time of year (I love Christmas music)!!!  🙂

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Judges 5:11  The village musicians Gather at the village well To sing of the triumphs of the Lord. Again and again they sing the ballad Of how the Lord saved Israel With an army of peasants! The people of the Lord Marched through the gates!
Psalm 71:22 I will praise you with music, telling of your faithfulness to all your promises, O Holy One of Israel.
May you find music to fill your soul.  A special shoutout to friends Mary Beth and Martin who bring music to the community of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Hudson, WI