Advent

Advent is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is a time we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus.

The different denominations have different traditions. In Western Christianity we use the color purple or blue for the different hangings around the church and the vestments or stoles that the clergy wear. The Lutherans chose purple, while the Methodists chose blue.

The different churches also choose different music that is payed or sung. Handel’s Messiah, the Magnificent and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel are just three of the familiar songs that are sung during this period. We all have our favorites depending on what we grew up with. Traditionally these are not Christmas carols, but songs telling of the coming of Jesus.

There are also traditions the churches follow. In England there used to be a tradition where dolls represented Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you gave a halfpenny coin to the person taking the dolls by your home you were to have good luck. If you did not give a halfpenny the household would have bad luck.

In Normandy, the farmers had the children run through the fields to set fire to the bundles of straw, thus driving out the evil that could damage their crops.

In Rome, there would be bagpipe players that would play as they come to the manger at Bethlehem. This was to recognize the pipes that the shepherds would have played.

Now our churches use an advent calendar or candles. The calendars usually have a little door to open. There can be a Bible verse and possibly a small gift or piece of chocolate.

I pray you take time each day to reflect on the coming of the Christ Child. Please don’t let busy things that don’t really have meaning for your life get in the way of enjoying your family and friends. They want to spend quality time with you. Pick a favorite cookie or two and bake them together. None of us need to eat dozens of different kinds of cookies, cake and pies. Do things together that make memories not exhaustion.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Jann Martin

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