December 2021 Words from the Pastor

Pastor Toby Beach

Can you believe it is December already?  The season of Advent is in full swing – the church is decorated – and there is still a bit of shock that Christmas will be here soon.  Sure, the world has been giving Christmas hints for months now, but it still seems to surprise us every year.

The fine people that make up our church have been invited to participate in the worship services by reading and lighting the Advent candles.  Often time, we don’t understand the “why’s” of what we do, so here is some information about Advent and the Advent wreath.

The word advent, from Latin, means “the coming.” For centuries, Advent has been a time of spiritual reflection as well as cheer and anticipation. Even as the Christmas season has become more secular-with advertisers urging holiday gift-givers to buy and buy some more-Advent still brings joy and the observance of ancient customs. Christian families find quiet moments at home and in church, lighting candles in the Advent wreath, and children can use Advent calendars to count the days until Christmas.

Advent has probably been observed since the fourth century. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism.

During the Middle Ages, Advent became associated with preparation for the Second Coming. In early days Advent lasted from November 11, the feast of St. Martin, until Christmas Day. Advent was considered a pre-Christmas season of Lent when Christians devoted themselves to prayer and fasting.

Advent wreaths have their origins in the folk traditions of northern Europe, where in the deep of winter people lit candles on wheel-shaped bundles of evergreen. Both the evergreen and the circular shape symbolized ongoing life. The candlelight gave comfort at this darkest time of the year, as people looked forward to the longer days of spring.

An advent wreath traditionally contains four candles-three purple and one rose. Purple dyes were so rare and costly that they were associated with royalty; the Roman Catholic Church has long used this color around Christmas and Easter to honor Jesus. The three purple candles in the Advent wreath symbolize hope, peace, and love. These candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent. The rose candle, which symbolizes joy, is usually lit on the third Sunday.

Sometimes a fifth candle is placed inside the Advent wreath. This candle is lit on Christmas Day. It is white, the color associated with angels and the birth of Jesus.

Because Advent wreaths are an informal celebration, not all are the same. Instead of purple candles, some people use blue, which recalls the color of the night sky before daylight returns. Others use all white candles.

Thank you all so much for your support and faithfulness to your church over the past year.  I know it hasn’t been easy.  May your Christmas be blessed and full of love and laughter.

Remember – God loves you, and I love you – and there is nothing you can do about it.

Hope – Peace – Love – Joy

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Pastor Toby Guill

219-850-3768 (cell)

Toby.guill@inumc.org

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Welcome to the Westville United Methodist Church

Service Times Sunday Morning:

10:am to 10:13 am Social Time

10:15 am Church Service Sanctuary, or in the parking lot

Tune into Radio Station 91.3

Office Email: secretarywumc@csinet.net

Secretary Monday -Thurs. 3:15 – 7:15pm

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(219) 785-2314
Sunday School 9 am
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