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Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Special Advent Series: Pt 1

For the month of December I want to bring a series of devotional thoughts that revolve around the Advent Celebration. Many churches and families use the Advent Wreath and reflective times with Scripture, Prayer and Worship to focus minds and hearts upon Jesus Emmanuel. This particular year WSFC isn’t utilizing the Advent Wreath/Candles during our weekend services, but I so encourage you to do so in your homes and hearts.

Historically there are 5 candles in the wreath that are lit in succession. There is no standard across evangelical Christianity as to the concrete meaning of each of the candles because it has changed and adapted over the centuries, however, most commonly we find the candles designated as such: Prophets, Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels and finally Jesus (celebrated on Christmas Eve). The first candle (The Prophets) is to be lit at the start of Advent, often the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is to remind us of the prophecies concerning Jesus the Messiah. To dig deeper into these prophesies look up Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7 and 53:2-6.

The second candle that I want to hone in on as we approach this weekend’s gathering is the focus on Bethlehem. Forever honored as the town where our Savior was born, Bethlehem was so named because it was a center of wheat production. In Hebrew Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank about 5 miles south of Jerusalem. It was crucially important for the nourishing and sustaining the people of Israel. Isn’t it amazing how poetic and prophetic this is? God’s Son, Jesus is the Bread of Life entered the world at a site named “House of Bread.”

The Written Bread (The Bible) points to the Living Bread (Jesus). This Advent season, I encourage you to gather together as families and small groups to read the powerful Word of God. Invite each family member or guest to have a small part. Perhaps you can gather at the table or by your Christmas tree and let the sharing of the Word unfold among you. Have each one take a selection and read it aloud, even those that are young can join in with the help of parents or older siblings. Watch how moving and memorable this time becomes. All will be reminded that the gift of The Word is at the heart of Christmas.

After you have read the Written Bread and honored the Living Bread perhaps you will want to start a new tradition with your family by breaking bread together in communion. Remember who was broken so that we might be whole!

Looking forward to being together this weekend as we kick off a new teaching series called “Christmas Unwrapped.” Invite some friends this month!

Blessings.

Pastor John

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