O Come, O Come, Emmanuel…

My wife and I discovered the season of Advent while still attending a mega-church in what we now sometimes call “the evangelical ghetto.” We bought candles and read books, but quietly, knowing we would be talked about if people knew. On Thanksgiving we had some friends over, one of whom is an elder at that church, and he was almost astounded to find out that we celebrate such papist nonsense. Not quite completely astounded, of course, since he knows that we’ve become Episcopalians since leaving his church. His wife, on the other hand, seemed intrigued by the idea of Christmas lasting four weeks.

What richness we find in Advent! While Christmas may have been co-opted by commercial interests in a sort of unofficial season that runs from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, Advent remains unspoiled. It’s a simple, rich tradition that helps my family to focus on what really matters: God became man.

Tomorrow my family will gather and read some prophecies and sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” with one candle lit. At church, we will see a similar wreath of candles, also with one candle lit. And we will know, every day, that all of this is in anticipation of the Savior of the world.

This year we are also celebrating the twelve days of Christmas, so that the season doesn’t end when the fifth candle is lit. And after that, Epiphany!

Then it’s only a few months until we gather again to celebrate the end of the human life of Jesus Christ, and the beginning of ours, at the Cross.


~ by Phillip Winn on November 26, 2005.

6 Responses to “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel…”

  1. Actually written at 10:07pm on Saturday, November 26, 2005. Hence the “tomorrow” reference. 🙂

  2. PW…

    I, too, when we started doing Advent, didn’t tell many people for fear of being labelled “papist” or, at the very least…weird!

    But we like it…alot. We’ve been lax the last couple of years but I fully intend to start this Sunday.

    I like what you said here…

    “…Advent remains unspoiled. It’s a simple, rich tradition that helps my family to focus on what really matters: God became man.”

    Short, sweet and too the point.


  3. I think Advent is the best idea since sliced bread. Families with children ought to all be doing it. RCC worries are one thing. Pagan Christmas is another!

    If you can find how to make pics wrap around, and not just set on the line, I’d like to know.

    See the problem at http://www.vantil.wordpress.com

  4. iMonk, you want to use align=”left” as part of the img tag.

    Eric, Advent is most beautiful when it points most directly at Christ. It was celebrating Advent with my family that helped me decide that I needed to leave my last church. I realized just how much of Jesus Christ I was missing, and I knew I had to find a church that celebrated Him all year around, not just with a big tree in the narthex in December.

  5. I updated the timestamp for this article, which changed the URL (since it changed the date). The comments are all still being posted as GMT, I believe.

  6. […] Any good ideas? I know Phillip Winn has talked about his family’s use of Advent candles. I wonder if an Advent Haggadah would be appropriate..a narration of Advent as stories, psalms, songs, etc? […]

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