Come Clean

Christmas time was always a special time for me when I was a child. Coming from a Chinese cultural and social-economically disadvantage young family, we never got into the habit of gift giving. In it’s place was lots of holiday cheer and festive ambience. Being poor did not deter my parents who loved Jesus with all their heart from celebrating. During the holidays, my parents opened our home to all our extended family and church members for a feast of turkey, cold slaw, and all kinds of baked goodies. My parents also baked fruit cakes and Christmas log cakes to distribute to friends and neighbors. It was a season of sharing in the joy of Jesus’s birth into our world.

Robert Thiemann (@rthiemann) | Unsplash Photo Community

As a young child, I recall being a part of the Children’s Church Choir and singing carols on Christmas eve along with acting out the Nativity play. When my husband and I were a young couple, we use to go Christmas caroling with other members of our Alpha group. As we started to have our own family, this changed to the yearly anticipated Candle light service.

In the past, the Advent was a 24 day countdown to the birth of Jesus. This year, it is the first time I celebrate the Advent as it was meant to be celebrated. That is, a spiritual journey of prayer, reflection and confession as I “come clean” about my human shortcomings and sins. It is a time for me to ask Jesus for the grace to draw closer to him, and to ask Him not only for forgiveness, but to have the confidence of faith and love. It is a spiritual preparation for not only Christ’s birth, but in His anticipated return.

It is the first time I set aside a bulk of time for daily prayer. It is the first time I can honestly say, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof…(Matthew 8:8) as I reflect on my humanity.

Setting aside time in my hectic day to pray has become the most anticipated highlight of my day. It is my time with God and getting to know him better. It is my time for holy preparation in asking Jesus to reveal to me all my unconfessed sins – past and present. It is a time for me to seek forgiveness and come clean. A friend once told me to be careful what I pray for (sheesh!), and all I can say is I had a flash of unconfused sins. She wasn’t kidding.

For those of you who like me had no idea how to celebrate the advent, I compiled the following:

1st Sunday of the Advent

CANDLE OF HOPE (PROPHET CANDLE/GOD’S PEOPLE CANDLE)ISAIAH 7:14 (RSV)

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman (A, B) shall conceive and bear (C) a son, and shall call his name Imman′u-el.(D)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 7:14 Or virgin
  2. 7.14 young woman: The Hebrew word ‘almah is not more explicit. The Greek translates this as parthenos, “virgin,” and may be regarded as a witness to later Jewish tradition as to the meaning of the prophecy. The virginal conception is, of course, unequivocally stated in the Gospel where this prophecy is quoted (Mt 1.23; cf. also Lk 1.35).
  3. Isaiah 7:14 Or is with child and shall bear
  4. Isaiah 7:14 That is God is with us

This is symbolized by a purple/blue candle.

2nd Sunday of the Advent

CANDLE OF FAITH (BETHLEHEM CANDLE) – LUKE 2:12 (rsv)

12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

This is symbolized by a purple/blue candle.

3rd Sunday of the Advent

CANDLE OF JOY (SHEPARD’S CANDLE) – LUKE 2:8-11 (RSV)

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

This is symbolized by a rose/pink candle.

4th Sunday of the Advent

CANDLE OF PEACE (ANGEL’S CANDLE) – LUKE 2:8-11 (RSV)

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

“Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men”

This is symbolized by a rose/pink candle.

5th Sunday of the Advent

CANDLE OF LIGHT AND PURITY (CHRIST CANDLE)

The fifth candle is white and represents the light and purity of Jesus Christ.  It represents His coming into the world for the redemption of mankind.

I also include a video from my Parish which I found heartwarmingly informative:

God Bless.

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