Posted by: pastordarren | December 10, 2012

The Four Elements of Advent

adventcand51 with wordsThe season of Advent includes the four Sunday’s that precede Christmas Day.  Within the church, this is a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  It is during that time where we decorate the church with elements that have special meanings.  We hear the stories from Scripture once again that talk about the coming and birth of Jesus and many times, I would guess, we have head the stories so many times that we tune them out because they are not new and awe-inspiring for us any more.  See my previous post on the holiness of this season at:

Each of these four Advent Sundays has a theme – Hope – Peace – Joy – Love.  We are half way through Advent, having lifted up Hope and Peace and are looking toward Joy and Love.  As I have been leading and preparing with these themes in mind, I have found it more and more common that the way in which we usually go about our lives during this time precludes the focusing and developing of these themes in our lives.  I think that as we hear the stories from the scriptures with these themes in mind, that we can begin to recover some of meaning of the Christmas Story and the impact the celebration of Jesus’ birth has on history and our world today.

There are also different ways in which we can define these concepts.  Hope is that deep longing for God’s presence in our lives, a presence that will make a lasting difference in our situation and that of our world. Peace is not just the absence of conflict, but also the peace of our hearts as they are focused on God and that restored relationship.  Joy is more than the happy feeling that we often associate with the word joy, but is the deeper understanding that in the midst of the struggles and pains, we know that we are loved with an unconditional love.  Which leads to central message of Christmas and Jesus’ message, Love.  In the birth and ministry of Jesus we are given a gift that speaks of love from God but are also called to show love back to God and also to love those around us.  Jesus said these were the most important commandments – Love God and Love your neighbor.

With all that we have going on this time of year; with all the demands on our time; with all the expectations that we have or even think we have on our lives, there are many different things that can diminish our hope, peace, joy and love.

What are some of the things you can do to recover your hope, peace, joy, and love this Advent and Christmas season and also to make it last into the new year?

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