Preparing for Christmas through Advent

St. Martin’s Lent predates the fifth century which began the celebration and season of Advent, translated as the coming of Christ. The 40 day fast began the day after the St. Martins’ Feast and lasted until Christmas Day. Modern celebration of the Christmas season has removed the emphasis of fasting before Christmas and now focuses on retelling the Christmas story and preparing for the coming of Christ.

“Advent is about the anticipation of the coming of Christ, so it’s all about the anticipation and we use that to focus and to remember,” Pastor Kerry Clark of First Assembly of God said. “He came the first time as a child and the bible tells us that he is coming again so we anticipate that as well.”

Churches prepare for Christmas by decorating the church, featuring the nativity scene and the Christmas wreath which represents God as the circle has begining and no end.

The holiday promotes giving and recieving as the theme that mirrors the bibical preparation and celebration of the baby Jesus over 2,000 years ago.

“It’s important to remember these stories because for followers of Christ, Christ is the center of our life and everything we do revolves around him, so it is part of our worship,” Clark said.

Clark said the five candles lit throughout the advent season represent hope, response — how we respond to the message of the first coming of Christ — miracles, peace and Christ.

“The advent series we promote is a time of peace, ‘comfort my people,'” Pastor Scott Joy of Word of life Baptist Church, said. “Advent is four Sundays before Christmas, the preparation for Christ’s birth. The proclamation of the good news.”

To prepare his church during Advent, Clark said members of the church go Christmas caroling, enjoy special music and hosted the Key of Hope Choir early December.

“We are contributing cookies to the fire department and local police, just as a way to let people know, especially first responders, that we care about them in the same way that Christ cares about them,” he said.

Beth Gohs can be reached via email at bgohs@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693.