November 28, 2010
Today is Advent Sunday. The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. In fact, the word Advent when used in biblical terms speaks to the coming of the Messiah to redeem or reclaim the human race, held captive by satanic forces. Indeed, Advent speaks of the Messaih returning triumphantly to liberate Israel from her enemies. The Israelites were under severe punishment from the Roman Empire as Rome ruled with an iron fist. The Israelites seemed hopeless in their situation until they remembered their God and looked to him. God is a God of second chances for he never forgets his own inspite of unfaithfulness and ungratefulness. 1Peter 3:9 declares, " The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness: but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance".
Advent therefore is a time to prepare one's heart for the coming Messiah. In the Moravian Church, it is customary that on the first Sunday of Advent, 5 candles are placed in a central position in the Sanctuary on a table. Four of the candles of the same length and size are placed on the 4 corners, while the fifth candle, a large one is placed in the centre. On the first Sunday of Advent, one candle is lit. On the second Sunday, two candles are lighted through to the 4th Sunday when 4 candles are lighted. The centre candles represents the "Light of the world" who is Jesus. This fifth candle is lighted on Christmas Day, signifying that the light of the world has come, to redeem the world from sin, death, hell and the devil, and to dispel every darkness.
The light of the world, Jesus, fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah when he declared, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:2,6&7). The Hymnwriter puts it best when he wrote,
O come, o come Immanuel
And ransomed captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.Rejoice! Rejoice, Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
The Advent Star is also customary in the Moravian Church and homes. It is normally placed above the Antar area of the Sanctuary where it can be seen very easily by every worshipper. It reminds us of the Star that the Wise Men went in search of to fi d the Christ Child.
As we enter into this Advent season, let us not be found wanting. Advent sends a message of Precaution, Preparation and Presentation. It's a message of precaution, because we do not want to be left out of the Kingdom. It woukld be a dreadful day. It's a message preparation, because we do not know when the Master will return and so we should always be ready to meet him whenever he makes his appearance. It's a message of presentation, for we must all stand before the judgement seat of Christ at the last day to give an account of our lives.
May this Advent find you shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest".