Sunday, November 30, 2003

Nov. 30th...

also known as St. Andrews Day. St. Andrew, the First-Called. The celebration of Advent starts on the Sunday closest to St. Andrews Day. For each of the four Sundays until Christmas a candle is lit, a prayer spoken, and a hymn sung. On Christmas Eve a fifth candle is lit in honor of the Christ-child. Read Isaiah 7 and 9; Luke 2; and Galatians 4. Remember the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), the Messiah - Immanuel, in preparation for the celebration of Christmas morning. The Greek Orthodox treat the weeks prior to Christmas not with parties and fanfare, but with solemn reflection, in anticipation - HOPE - of the promised coming of the Lord. This is done to parallel the waiting that Israel experienced for the Messiah's arrival. Once Christmas morning arrives, festive celebrations occur for 12 days up until January 6 and the Epiphany celebration of the arrival of the Magi. Whether we follow that liturgy or not, we would be well advised to take the time to meditate on the true meaning of the Christmas season. O come, O come Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel

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