For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:28 (NLT)
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For centuries, God prepared His people for the coming of His son.
At Christmas, we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises that God made.
Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas.
Advent begins Sunday, December 2nd however over the next 4 Fridays, JQ99 would like to invite you to join us as we try to bring a deeper meaning to Christmas this year by remembering the thousands of years that God's people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God's salvation...JESUS!
Follow along with us each week online and on-air as we focus on that week's candle and talk about it's meaning.
If you'd like to celebrate advent within your own home, here's some helpful information for you!
Advent Dates for 2012:
December 2nd - First Sunday of Advent
December 9th - Second Sunday of Advent
December 16th - Third Sunday of Advent
December 23rd - Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 25th - Christmas Day
For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder, both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah, as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ's return from Heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God.
Most Advent wreaths use three colors; Purple, Pink, and White. However, some use blue in place of purple. Purple is the color traditionally associated with penitence and fasting. The candles point to Jesus, the light of the world. (John 3:17-21)
1st Candle (Purple) - The Prophecy Candle/Candle of Hope: We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our hope comes from God.
"And again, Isaiah says, 'The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in Him.' May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:12-13
2nd Candle (Purple) - The Bethlehem Candle/Candle of Preparation: God kept His promise of a Savior who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to "get ready". Help us to be ready to welcome You, O God!
"As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.' Luke 3:4-6
3rd Candle (Pink) - The Shepherd Candle/Candle of Joy: The angels sang a message of joy!
"...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'" Luke 2:7-15
4th Candle (Purple) - The Angel Candle/Candle of Love: The angels announced the good news of a Savior. God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because He loves us!
"For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17
5th Candle (White) - Christ Candle: Traditionally lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth!
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sing of the world!'" John 1:29
The Four Weeks:
This period of waiting signifies the four centuries of waiting between the last prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus. All five candles continue to be lit in worship services through Epiphany on January 6th.
(Epiphany means "to show" and is the climax of the Christmas Season and the "Twelve Days of Christmas". It is observed to denote the coming of the wise men bringing gifts and their worship to Christ.)
The Evergreen Wreath:
The Evergreen Wreath reminds believers that our Savior God grants new and everlasting life in Jesus. The wreath was also a symbo of victory, for a garland wreath was often placed on victors in contests or conquests. So naturally, a Christian can think of the crown of life that Jesus has won for us.