Today marked the first Sunday in Advent and not surprisingly I woke up this morning with a new sense of peace in my heart. God’s grace is amazing. When we seek Him with a repentant and desiring heart, He always shows up.
Yesterday on my blog I shared about the end of the liturgical church year. Today in church we went back to the beginning of the Book of Common Prayer and started a new season: Advent.
I love how the church takes us liturgically through the Christian year where-through the designated Scripture, prayers, and hymns that all fit together-we can truly align our hearts to God and to the true spirit and reason of the season.
Today, we lit the first of four candles in the Advent wreath.
Verona Peak with Katie and Riley lighting the first candle at St. James Anglican in Kansas City
As time passes from Advent Sunday to the Vigil of Christmas, the wreath will grow in the brightness of illumination – symbolic of the coming of Christ who is the Light of the World. The prophecies read with the lighting of the Advent wreath help us relate to the people of the Old Testament. They waited in anticipation for the coming day of the Lord as the mystery of the Incarnation unfolded through the centuries by prophets who prepared the way for His Coming.
In the Advent wreath, The first candle, The Prophecy Candle, announces the period of waiting upon God for the fulfillment of His promise.
Today’s Collect: ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
Today’s Epistle was from Romans 13 about God’s commandments and especially to love one another. …”Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.“
And from the Gospel reading in Matthew 21, we find Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on a donkey. People spread garments before him and cut down branches from the trees and placed them before Him saying, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. ...then Jesus went into the temple of God and “cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
The collect, epistle, and Gospel from Advent 1 today shared the theme of casting off the darkness and welcoming in the light. Jesus Christ is that light.
And from our Hymns today, I especially liked this line: Fling wide the portals of your heart; Make it a temple, set apart.
And the last verse: So come, my Sovereign; enter in! Let new and nobler life begin; Thy Holy Spirit guide us on, Until the glorious crown be won.
I’m glad to enter into a new season–one of hope and blessings. I have cast off the darkness. I am making a conscious decision to give up seeking the “gifts” and will seek “The Giver,” The Light, The Savior. This Advent I will try to focus on preparing my heart for the celebration of the birth of Christ and for His second coming-which is what Advent is all about.
And, as promised, I’ll try to blog each day of Advent and share what God shows me on this journey.
And I’ll end this blog post today as we end every Sunday service: with the “Last Gospel” read together: John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.