The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The season of Christmas officially begins on Christmas Day and lasts until the day of The Epiphany, Jan. 6.
Advent is a joyous time of anticipation of the coming of Jesus, "God with us," and it is also recognized as the beginning of the Church Year. Each Sunday in Advent, a new candle is lit as Worship begins, as well as in many Moravian and other Christian homes.
Pastor Ginny Tobiassen discussed the significance Advent in a recent article for our Home Church newsletter, Home to Home:
Why does the church have its own “year”? Because we mark the passing of time by walking through the life of Christ and the church. The church year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, with a voice crying, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” Then the church year takes us from the anticipation of Jesus’ birth, all the way through his passion, death, and resurrection. Next comes the birth of the church at Pentecost, followed by a long season of celebration and reflection (“Ordinary Time”). The church year ends with Reign of Christ Sunday, celebrating Christ’s sovereign rule and the presence of the Kingdom of God. That’s a lot to look forward to!
And so it begins! Not the hard work of bringing Christmas joy to our many visitors; not the busy schedules of Christmas shopping and social activities; but a real beginning, in which God is making all things new. It begins: God incarnate, breaking into human history. It begins: the walk from the manger to the cross. It begins: God with us, among us, for us. Every step of the church year is a chance to walk in newness with Christ; and it all begins with Advent.
Associate Pastor Andrew Heil wrote this about Advent:
As we enter the season of Advent, the God whose story has become our own awaits its retelling in order that Christ might be born in us anew. Won’t you join us on this journey? For such is the God that we have come to know.
A Prayer for Advent
God who gives light to those in darkness,
guide our feet on paths of peace.
Grant us to trust in the hope of your promise to us,
for as you have been, so you also will be—
the God to whom our hearts belong,
the God whose life is ever found in love. Amen.
Christmas Eve is celebrated in four lovefeast services, at 11 a.m. (children's), and 2:30, 5:00 and 7:15 p.m. Children are welcome at all Christmas Eve services. No nursery is provided for the services.
Christmas Eve lovefeasts are a time of joyous singing, special choral music, the reading of the Christmas story, an inspiring Christmas message, and the lifting of our lighted lovefeast candles during our final hymn, as we sing:
Praise the Lord, God our salvation,
praise him who retrieved our loss;
sing, with awe and love's sensation,
hallelujah, God with us.
Advent and Christmas are times of many special Moravian and Home Church traditions. Watch this website as the seasons approach for more specifics about activities and events.