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Weekly Bulletin November 29, 2020
by Terrie Evans
On November 29th, we celebrate the first Sunday of the 4 weeks of Advent known as a time of penitence and fasting and at one time referred to as the Nativity Fast or the Fast of December. It is said that the celebration of Advent began in the 5th century when Bishop Perpetuus directed this Liturgical Season to start on the feast of St. Martin of Tours on November 11th and end at Christmas. At the time in the history of the Church, everyone fasted 3 times per week which was called “Lent of St. Martin” a practice that lasted until the 6th Century. Around 1917, the Roman Catholic Church abolished the rule of fasting but kept the season of Advent as a season of penitence. During that time, activities such as dancing and all social festivities were also forbidden until the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Rose Sunday.
Advent always commences on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and on the Sunday nearest to the Feast of St. Andrew (Monday, November 30th). Every year we set up our Advent wreath as a way for us to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas celebration. The Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans around the 16th Century and by 1839, the wreath that we know use was accepted in churches. Our Advent wreath is adorned with three violet and one pink candle with a 5th white candle (Christ Candle) to be lit on Christmas Day. The greenery and holly of the wreath signify victory, a sign of life, hope, peace as well as the struggle against darkness. The round shape of the wreath also represents the symbol of Christ the King with the holly recalling the crown of thorns resting on the head of Christ.
Each Sunday during Advent we follow the Catholic tradition of lighting one of the four candles with each one representing one thousand years, to total 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior. Each one of the 4 candles symbolize the stages of salvation before the coming of the Messiah with the 1st being the symbol of the forgiveness that was granted to Adam and Eve. On this 1st Sunday of Advent, we light the 1st Purple Candle, known as the Prophecy Candle for the prophets, and (Isaiah) who foretold the birth of Christ. The readings for this Sunday, are for all of us to look forward to the Second coming of Christ.