“Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) – OR “What happens when you leave 4 men together with a piano” :D

The 4th week of Advent is here! The 4th candle is known as the Angel Candle or the Love Candle. May God bless you with His joy as Christmas Day draws closer!

I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” ~ Luke 2:10b-11

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ~ John 3:16-17

The “Gaudete” or Joy Candle

Who knew that Philippians 4: 4-6 could sound so beautiful in song? The third Sunday in advent is known as Gaudete Sunday–named after the first Latin word in the service:

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Translated:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1

The Gaudete Carol is an ancient one, dating back to at least the 16th century. May we rejoice, as Paul says to in Philippians, in Christ and all His gifts to us this season!

The Bethlehem Candle

On the second Sunday of Advent the second candle of five is lit. In many churches, this is considered the Bethlehem candle. We remember that long before Jesus Christ was born, the humble town of Bethlehem was promised to be the birthplace of a great king–in fact, the King of Kings.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2

All you need to start your own family’s celebration is five candles (some people do four). It’s really that simple. How you arrange the candles or decorate them is entirely up to you. Our family’s advent “wreath” has changed over the years but has always been some kind of grouping of the five candles, usually in a circle. Before kids, we used tapers but later with toddlers around votive candles seemed a MUCH better idea.

After years of having the candles in circle formation, I found a darling candle holder at a shop which has five votive holders in line formation which takes up less table space. This year I have flameless candles, which I like because I can “burn” them all evening.

So the basic idea is to light one candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. On the first Sunday you would have one candle burning. The second Sunday two of the five would be burning and so forth. The fifth candle is for Christmas Eve, which we like to light after Christmas Eve service. In the days after Christmas, it is fun to have all five burning at the same time.

You may notice that many candles especially marketed for Advent are purple and pink. Those colors originated in order to match the vestments of Roman Catholic priests during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Don’t stress about the color, though. The main thing is to remember different parts of the Christmas story as the day approaches.

Hopefully, your church will have a list of Advent Scripture readings that you can refer to as the days go by.

Did you miss a week? Or even more? Don’t worry. Just grab some candles and go!

EBH

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

Silence can be more profound than words. It has a weight of its own. Silence, especially from a loved one, can become unbearable. It can accompany anticipation, precede disaster, or indicate rejection. Often, we don’t know what it portends.

The last words spoken between God and man before Christ’s coming are recorded in Malachi. The emotion of God seeps out in every verse, beginning with, “I have loved you.” (Malachi 1:1) Like a husband in pain, God recounts Israel’s unfaithfulness. The book almost reads like a cross-examination in court. The charges are simple and the proofs of unfaithfulness are easy to see. God’s final words are full of pathos:

4:1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules[q] that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

And then….silence.

For 400 years. No prophecy. No songs. No warnings. No words of love. For generations.

And then something happened, something so wonderful we celebrate it to this day. God spoke again–breaking the dark, long silence of an age. Like the sun rising over the horizon and shining on a frosty earth, angels came and told us everything was about to change. The advent of our Savior had arrived.

Elizabeth Hiett

Walking Towards Sunday: My Favorite Advent Calendar <3

LondonAdvent

Today’s December 1st and if you haven’t already bought an advent calendar, I just have to share my all-time favorite one with you! In fact, this advent calendar is so charming it’s worth having two! Kids will love it, but I suspect moms will be the ones playing on it most of the time 😉

My mother sent me one years ago and since then I have looked forward to getting these for myself 😉  …Oh, yes..and for my friends and family.

Every year, Jacquie Lawson creates an interactive and uber-charming Christmas wonderland. In her world there is something to explore, discover, learn, or create everyday of December. If you leave it open, this calendar will even serenade you with some classical Christmas music. 

Her attention to detail makes this calendar super-fun. The town clock is always set to the  time where you live and if the sun is down in your real world, it is in your advent world too! 

The link below will take you to her site’s webpage where you can see a demo of this year’s calendar, which has a Victorian theme. 

I just had to share this happy bit of Christmas-time that I love! 

Click here to preview! Advent Calendar

The Long Silence

lightstock_127250_medium_elizabeth_

Silence can be more profound than words. It has a weight of its own. Silence, especially from a loved one, can become unbearable. It can accompany anticipation, precede disaster, or indicate rejection. Often, we don’t know what it portends.

The last words spoken between God and man before Christ’s coming are recorded in Malachi. The emotion of God seeps out in every verse, beginning with, “I have loved you.” (Malachi 1:1) Like a husband in pain, God recounts Israel’s unfaithfulness. The book almost reads like a cross-examination in court. The charges are simple and the proofs of unfaithfulness are easy to see. God’s final words are full of pathos:

4:1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules[q] that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

And then….silence.

For 400 years. No prophecy. No songs. No warnings. No words of love. For generations.

And then something happened, something so wonderful we celebrate it to this day. God spoke again–breaking the dark, long silence of an age. Like the sun rising over the horizon and shining on a frosty earth, angels came and told us everything was about to change. The advent of our Savior had arrived. EBH