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By Dr. Dan Wuori
(Note: This week’s sermon describes church traditions associated with Advent and may need to be adapted to describe your own church’s marking of the season. Note that this lesson is also premised upon the provision of an advent calendar to each of the children present––a detail easily eliminated if this is not possible.)
Today we begin a very special time of year in the church. We call it Advent.
The word Advent comes from a Latin word––”adventus”––which means “coming.” Can you guess what’s coming?
That’s right, it’s Christmas––which is the church’s celebration of Jesus’ birth. Advent is a time of waiting––and preparing our hearts for Jesus’ coming.
We mark the days and weeks Advent in different ways. One way is with candles. Do you notice the special advent candles here today? During each of the four weeks of Advent we will light another one, until all four are lit. Then on Christmas Eve, we’ll light the fifth candle in the middle.
Another way you might choose to mark Advent with your family is with one of these: an Advent Calendar. If you look carefully you’ll notice that this calendar is covered with little doors––there are 24 of them. They may be hard to see right now, because they’re all closed––but an Advent Calendar is a way of helping to count the days that lead up to Christmas. Usually we open the first door on the first day of December, which is tomorrow––and then open one more door each day. When all the doors have been opened, Christmas will have arrived. This one has a picture behind each door––but sometimes they even have chocolate inside.
I have an Advent Calendar to help each of you count the days of Advent. But before we hand them out, let’s pray.
We are ready to celebrate the coming of your son, Jesus. We thank you for sending him to Earth and ask that you give us the strength and wisdom to follow his examples.
Copyright 2008, Dan Wuori. Used by permission.