What is Advent?
(From the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministries)
Advent is a time to reflect on the truth revealed by the Apostle John: God so loved the world that he gave his only son (John 3:16). “Advent” means the arrival of a notable person or event, and in the four weeks before Christmas, were member how Christ came to save us. Mankind’s rebellion caused separation and spiritual darkness; yet in the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World dispels the darkness and restores mankind’s relationship with God.
The light of the Advent candles are a testimony to the light Christ brings to a fallen world. The purple candles remind us of the royal status of the King of kings, who set aside the privileges of being the Son of God and took the form of a servant in human flesh. He humbled himself because he loved us. The birth of Jesus, the Light of the World dispels the darkness
We light a pink candle (the “joy candle”) on the third week of Advent. This color reminds us of the joy of the season, as God demonstrates his love in such a wonderful way. To those who receive him, he gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12). We experience deep and unshakable joy because he loved us.
We light the white candle (the “Christ candle”) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This color reminds us of the purity of Christ, whose perfect sacrifice brings peace between God and man. For those who trust in what Christ has done, the crimson stain of sin is made white like snow (Isaiah 1:18). We are spiritually clean because he loved us.
In the weeks preceding Christmas, many people celebrate sentimental expressions of love. Christians move beyond mere sentimentalism. We love from the firm foundation of experiencing the love of God in Christ. His love colors and shapes every aspect of life. In him, we demonstrate humility and joy. Cleansing cannot come from saying the right thing or doing the right thing. Justification is by faith alone.
LIST OF EVENTS
It's the most wonderful time of the year, and we hope that you will join us as we celebrate this Advent and Christmas season.
Annual Chili Supper | Friday, December 7 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Enjoy a bowl of chili (or two!) and singing at one of Faith's most beloved traditions! Contact Mark at email@example.com for more information.
Parents Morning Out | Saturday, December 8 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Parents can drop off children ages 0-8th grade at church to practice their performance for Sunday morning and enjoy Christmas games and crafts. Free of charge. RSVP to the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children's Christmas Play | Sunday, December 9 at 9:45 AM
Children ages 4 through 5th grade are invited to participate in a Christmas play during the Sunday School hour (9:45 AM - 10:45 AM) on December 9. They will be practicing each week during Sunday school between now and then. Contact Stephanie at email@example.com for more information.
Middle School Christmas Party | Wednesday, December 12 at 6:00 PM
Students 6th - 8th grade are invited to join our annual Christmas party! Contact Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
High School Progressive Dinner | Saturday, December 15 at 5:00 PM
Students 9th - 12th grade will enjoy food, fellowship, and games while they travel between three homes for appetizers, entree, and dessert. Contact Steven at email@example.com for more information.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service | Monday, December 24 @ 7:00 PM
A beautiful service full of traditional Christmas carols and celebrating the joy of Christmas.
There are several excellent online, free Advent devotionals for families of all shapes and sizes. Check out a few of our favorites:
Good News of Great Joy: Daily readings for Advent from John Piper. You can download the PDF, sign up for the email journey, or subscribe to the podcast.
The Family Advent Guide: This guide from The Village Church gives families with young kids ideas and activities to create intentional time, to capture teachable moments and to mark significant milestones during Advent.
Advent Guide: This guide from The Village Church serves as an introduction to the Advent season to awaken the angst of waiting, longing and yearning for Christ. It consists of five weeks of material with each week containing a personal devotional, group devotional and family devotional.
Season of Advent: Prepare your heart this season for the coming King! Sign up for Perimeter’s weekly email Advent devotional and Christmas carol, or download the PDF.
The Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Guide: Join us in a journey of wonder through The Jesus Storybook Bible this advent as we trace the beautiful story of God’s great love for us–from the very beginnings of the universe, to the birth of the baby who would rescue the whole world. This Advent Guide includes a reading guide, printable ornaments, activity ideas, a note for parents and special introduction from Sally Lloyd Jones, and new coloring pages and printables.
Printed copies of any of the above devotionals may be obtained on request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Sign-up may be required. Spotify is a free online streaming music platform that allows users to listen to songs on demand over the Internet while still paying artists for the use of these tracks.
Ways to serve
There are so many ways to serve during the holiday season! (For families with children, the long holiday break from school can be a great opportunity to teach about the importance of serving others.) No matter your age or stage of life, here are a few ideas of ways to get involved:
Sponsor a child: You can do this through several agencies, but you can sponsor a child in need from the local school system by purchasing items requested on an ornament from the Giving Tree in the Welcome Center at Faith.
Donations and volunteer needs: Contact one of our Ministry Partners or another local agency that you are passionate about and ask what donations or volunteer needs they have during the holiday season.
Include others: If you are going on a family outing to some place special, invite a student or other single person living far from home to come with you. Go out of your way to make friendly chit chat with someone you know who does not celebrate Christmas. Talk to the people around you about your faith and why Christmas is important to you. Inviting someone to the Christmas Eve service.
Random acts of kindness: In line at Starbucks? Offer to pay for the order of the people behind you. Baking a casserole? Make an extra for a neighbor. Volunteer to babysit, as a family, for a couple with small children so that they can go out on a date. You get the idea... possibilities are endless!
Write cards: Take a moment to write heartfelt thank you cards for the people in your life who don’t hear it enough. For kids, it may be a relative, teacher, bus driver or coach! Send cards to military personnel overseas. Write a note to a friend who has recently lost a relative or for whom the holiday season is a difficult time. Leave a Christmas card (and perhaps a little treat) in your mailbox for the mail carrier.
Cook or bake for someone: Get out the mixer and bake up a treat for a friend or family member who could use some cheering up. Deliver goodies to service personnel on Christmas Day, such as policemen, firemen, or nurses who don’t always get to spend Christmas with their families because they have chosen to serve their community. Prepare a meal and take it to a sick or elderly friend.
Pray for those in need: We may not normally think of prayer as service, but it’s a great way to think about the needs of others. Commit to praying for a different family member, friend, or missionary each night now until Christmas.
Donate extra items from your home: Clean out your coat closet and take your old coats to a local shelter. Have kids pick out toys to pass along. Donate books you’re no longer using to the library.
Caroling: Bless others through song! Stop by a local nursing home or visit the homebound in our own congregation. There are a few Gospel Community Groups at Faith that go caroling, so contact the church office if you would like to be connected with one of them.
What are your ideas? Share them with us at email@example.com and we may add them to this list or share on our Facebook page!