| The Parish of Osbaldwick with Murton | |
The Church's Year
Advent always begins on the 4th Sunday before 25th December. The word ’Advent’ means ’Coming’ and these weeks are used partly as a time to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ Coming the first Christmas. There are four Sundays in Advent, each with their own emphasis. - the Patriarchs (founders of the Jewish People), the Prophets of Ancient Israel, John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This is a solemn time, but not a miserable one, for one of the key words of Advent is Hope, that is, looking forward in expectation. We look forward to celebrating again that first Coming of Jesus in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. But Advent calls on us to look forward in another way. It points us towards the end of time, when Jesus Christ will come again in glory to bring in the fullness of the kingdom of God, evil will be abolished and the whole creation redeemed and perfected in Christ.
So, as countless people are busy with physical and social preparations for Christmas, the season of Advent calls us to prepare our hearts and minds to welcome Jesus again at the festival, but also to renew our expectation of Jesus’s Final Coming at the close of history, whenever that may be. So we come to another of Advent’s great themes - Watchfulness.
In Osbaldwick Church, as in many others, we use the Advent Candle Wreath - a ring with four candles round the edge with a white one in the centre. A new candle is lit each Sunday until the white one, symbolising the light of Jesus, is lit at Christmas. This final candle is lit at each Christmas service.
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