Dear Fellow Families,
Thank you for joining us this Advent season! Derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “appearance”, Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of our Savior’s birth! The candles in our advent wreaths are lit each week to represent the four pillars of Advent: hope, love, joy, and peace. As we join together, we are given the opportunity to focus on being joyfully content in what God has given us and patiently await and prepare for all that He has planned for us in the future, which is certainly beyond what we could ever possibly ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) Since the 6th century, Western Christians have been observing Advent as they prepare for Christmas and celebrate our Lord’s Incarnation. Recapturing the rich heritage of Judaism and Christianity through our observation of Advent is an important part of our religious calendar here at First Pres. This devotional reminds us of God’s faithfulness to our congregation and gives us the opportunity to reflect upon how His hand is guiding us. Through the experiences and stories within, we are able to celebrate together as a church family and see God’s promise of Jesus, “the light of the world,” from John 8:12 come to life. As we share God’s love with others, we see Jesus’ light, follow hard after Him closely, and make it through any darkness that comes our way. With each candle we light on the Advent wreath, we see God’s faithfulness through the hope, love, joy, and peace that He provides to us all.
Through the lighting of the Christ Candle, we embrace Jesus as the light of our life and celebrate His birth, the redemption His arrival provided, and the ways that He continually holds our hand through the ups and downs of this world. Within these pages, you will find many beautiful and moving submissions that share personal stories of God’s hand in the lives of the authors, along with promises from His Word. As we journey through the weeks ahead, set aside a time, perhaps at family dinners, to read the devotions, and pray together. As you embrace the words in these devotions, also take a moment to reflect on our amazing God and His promises all throughout the Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah and beyond, in which He loudly declares that when we hold on tightly, we will not be shaken (Psalm 16:8), we will not stumble and fall (Psalm 37:24), and the rivers of difficulty and fires of oppression will not consume us (Isaiah 43:2), because it is His hand we hold on to. Throughout the next 24 days, relish in the fact that it is in His embrace that we are supported by His strength and guidance, delivered from our fears, and can securely rest in the fact that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Be sure to reflect on these glorious truths together and use this time to create memories and traditions to treasure forever.
Please invite others to join with us for the Advent recitals, Christmas Cantata, Christmas Pops and Carol Sing, Jingle Jam, Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and Advent worship services as we rejoice together during this Advent and Christmas season. The schedule can be found on our calendar.
The Advent wreath is lit each Sunday in church to represent Christ’s light shining throughout the world. For instructions on how to make your own Advent wreath, please click below.
This is a great tradition that will undoubtedly be enjoyed for years to come. On the following page, you will find another great family activity that is an amazing way to exhibit to children and grandchildren, that holding hands with our heavenly Father really means that He is holding our heart in His hands and He is never letting go!