On the Fourth Sunday of Advent

advent4

God became man.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

Micah 5:2-4

The fourth Sunday of Advent prepares for the birth of Christ.

Advent traditions differ as sometimes do the meanings of the candles. Traditionally the fourth candle means love and represents the love of Christ who came to the earth sinless to take on himself the sins of the world.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 13:15

Love Came Down at Christmas

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Cristina Rosetti

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The First Sunday of Advent

Advent Wreath 1

All last week Americans heard over and over about Thanksgiving and Black Friday. But  today is the First Sunday of Advent and in the Christian faith this is the beginning of the season, the looking toward the Coming of the Christ child.

Sunday, November 2 begins the liturgical season of Advent in Western Christian churches. This may involve special prayers and the lighting of the first Advent candle.

Some churches or families may choose to follow an Advent calendar counting down the days until Christmas. After World War II, military personnel and their families who had been stationed in Germany brought them home to the United States.

In Eastern Christian churches a similar observance, called the Nativity Fast, runs for 40 days.

“The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”
Jeremiah 33:14-16

Old Testament Scholar, Dr. John Oswalt, speaks to how the Old Testament speaks of the coming of Christ.

Here are some resources to help celebrate Advent.

You Version (the electronic Bible) has featured reading and devotional plans for Christmas and Advent.

d365 offers Devotionals for 365 Days a year and offers “Following the Star” an Advent guide with Scripture and meditations. The series begins today with “Hope.” Writer Mihee Kim-Kort, says: “Advent is a seson in which we can cultivate a posture of waiting and watching with hope.”

How to Make an Advent Wreath
Catholicism at About.com

Apartment Therapy offers 35 DIY Advent Calendars to Make Now So You’re Ready for December. There are options for those not of the Christian faith who still wish to count down the days to Christmas.

Advent, it’s about preparing the way.