Advent marks the beginning of the church year. It begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. In 2014, Christmas falls on a Thursday, and Christmas Eve on Wednesday night. Thus, in 2014 Advent begins Sunday, November 30, and ends the morning of Thursday, December 25.
Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus, meaning “coming.” It is a season to prepare for the coming of Christ in various meanings: the promised coming of the Messiah to the Jews, the coming of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the promised return of the risen Christ in final victory, and the continual coming of Christ into the lives and hearts of believers.
Advent began in France in the fourth century. In various times and locations of the church, it has been observed for three, four, and six weeks leading to Christmas. During Advent, Keith Church incorporates themes and symbols during its worship services and hosts special services and events in celebration of the season.
One such symbol is the Chrismon Tree, which you will find in our sanctuary. Chrismons (a contraction for ‘Christ monograms’) are ornaments made from Christian symbols. These ornaments were first developed by Frances Spencer and the women of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Va.
The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. At Keith, the Advent wreath features three purple or blue candles with one candle being rose or pink, to represent joy. The center white candle is the Christ candle. The lighting of the first candle symbolizes hope, the second symbolizes peace, the third joy and the fourth love. The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve reminding us that Jesus is the light of the world.