Christmas 2008

How many different ways can you celebrate Christmas?  This year, Christmas is taking on a fresh perspective, and that is exciting.  Since we celebrate XMAS every year, it seems like I get in the cycle of rituals, just like every other church function.

Last week, I made a decision to follow the Advent schedule during our weekend worship services.  Two days later, Erica came to me and said, “I would like to lead our boys through Advent this year.”  I have to admit, raised Pentecostal, we looked down on stuff like that.  We thought it was weak to have a written out plan of scriptures and reading schedules accompanied with candles, wreaths, etc.  I am sure to those of you who have done it for 20 years, it is old hat.  But, to the Steele family, it is extremely fresh and relevant.  It has made me look at everything differently.  I look at each decoration and symbol and recall its importance in bringing the story to life.

-robin

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About pastorrobin

Hello. I pastor PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, TX. I am married to Erica, and we have 3 kids: Kennady, Jude, and Avery. All little ones! Visit our church site at www.psmchurch.com

Posted on December 1, 2008, in Church Business, My Family. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. For those of us who did grow up pentecostal…would you mind giving us a little more information on what Advent is and how it is celebrated? Maybe a link to a good site or something.

  2. My very biased and ignorant viewpoint (some define this as a good Pentecostal) is that Advent, like many practices originating from the Catholic Church, started out as a well meant and functional tradition that has since become just another ritual to many practitioners. The basic idea was to use certain symbols like candles and wreaths, certain scripture readings, and certain colors, to remind Christians of Jesus first coming while we waited on the second return. I think it is a great idea as long as we never allow the ritualization to become an end in itself. But then, the same could be said about everything we do in a religious setting.

  3. How ignorant is this? I just know advent as the box of chocolates that counts down to Christmas day! lol …I ususally couldn’t wait to eat one chocolate per day!

  4. We also decided to do Advent this year. I didn’t know anything about it except for the chocolate “countdowns” either. I read about it on a blog and thought it was a wonderful idea. We handmade our wreath by tracing our girls hands which made it special. The girls (older ones) have learned a lot already. I think it will really help us focus on what this season is really about. I am excited about this new tradition.

  5. Well from someone who grew up just doing what ever, I also only know Advent as a box of candy, who like almost everyone else did not just have one per day lol.. This is very interesting. I would like to know more about this. It is very important to us that our son grow up knowing as much as he can about things like this. We are so happy that when he sings songs, he is sings what he hears at church. He is always asking to hear Mr. Matt, or Mr. Jacob or as he calls him “John Ragsdale” (not Mr. John lol). This is a good start for him and we want more for him.

  6. Elizabeth Wharton

    I know we have a few days of catching up to do, but we are starting today. Advent seems like such a great way to really focus on Christ in the middle of a very busy time. I agree with you, Rob, that all of our well meant actions have the potential to become meaningless rituals if we don’t purpose in our hearts to keep them fresh and real. We can sing a song to God without worshipping Him. We can hold our child’s hand as we walk across the parking lot without appreciating the wonder of their sweet trust in our protection. We can tell our spouse “I love you” and not think about what love really is. I pray that God shows me all of the rituals in my life that have lost their meaning and that my response will create a more open heart for Him to use.

  7. Is this the right track
    The advent wreath is typically a circular wreath made of evergreen branches with five candles, three purple, one pink, and one white, arranged on the wreath. The circular shape is a symbol of eternity. The evergreens used on the wreath symbolize hope and renewal.

    The five candles together on the advent wreath symbolize Jesus being born as the light of the world. The first purple candle is the prophets candle, and it symbolizes hope. The second purple candle is the Bethlehem candle. It represents Christ’s manger and symbolizes love. The third candle is pink and it is called the shepherd’s candle. The shepherd’s candle symbolizes joy.

    The fourth candle is purple and is called the Angel’s candle. It symbolizes peace. The final candle is white and it is lit on Christmas Eve. The white candle symbolizes Christ who has come into the world to save it from its sins.

    The traditional colors of Advent are purple, pink, and white. Each of these colors are represented in the candles of the Advent wreath. Purple is a color associated with repentance as a reminder to prepare internally the coming holiday.

    It is also associated with royalty, in anticipation of the birth of the coming king. Pink is used during the third Sunday of advent and it represents joy. It marks a shift in the season away from repentance towards rejoicing. White is associated with purity. The white candle in the center of the advent wreath represents the sinlessness of Jesus.

    The bells that are associated with Christmas are a symbol of worship. They are a reminder of the angel’s announcement of the birth of Christ followed by a joyous song. The dove is also often seen in Christmas decorations and it is a symbol of peace.

    The evergreen trees uses for Christmas trees are a symbol of life, hope and renewal. The evergreen tree is an exceptionally apt symbol in the winter since it has retained its greenery when all other trees have lost their leaves. The round ball-shaped Christmas ornaments used on Christmas trees are a symbol of eternity and endlessness.

    They are also a symbol of the world that Christ came to save. The star at the top of the tree is a symbol of Jesus, called the “bright and morning star” in Revelations. The star also symbolizes Epiphany, the day the three wise men visited Jesus, a reminder that all wise men follow the star.

  8. Wow, Vera, you’re a compendium of information. Thanks so much

  9. Thanks for the enlightenment, Vera.

  10. So we are suppose to make a wreath, with five candles…what about the Scriptures Erica was talking about?? Wow…I already feel like I am falling, farther and father behind if I was going to impliment this…

  11. And chocolate…don’t forget the chocolate. Just kidding, but I’d definitely like to know more too.

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