Historically the season of Advent has been a time for the church to look forward, with longing, to the second coming of Christ. Advent begins the church year with sober reflection that gives way to Christmas celebration. During Advent we consider the Old Testament expectations for the coming of the Messiah. We also consider that, even after Messiah’s first coming, we are still waiting for His final coming to free us from all oppression and to grant us joy in it’s place.
In our annual Advent feast we trace the history of God’s people through the Old Testament concentrating on events of exile; the garden, the wilderness, Assyria, Babylon and beyond. You will find in each of the periods covered in the feast that food was a major source of what caused the exile; forbidden fruit in the Garden, complaints about leeks, or meat sacrificed to idols. Food was also part of the curse of exile. While banished, Israel would be forced to eat that which was unclean. Yet, food was also part of God’s provision in the midst of exile. He showed his faithfulness by always providing for His wandering people. Food is a major player in the history of our redemption. We were cast out because of wrong eating and when we finally arrive home, by God’s grace, we will be seated for the feast of all feasts. Until then, we are weekly sustained by food from the Lord’s table. At the Advent feast, each stop will have food representing both the causes of exile and the promise of God’s provision while in exile.
We will begin each stop with a reading and response based on the Scriptures of the period of Biblical history we are meditating on. We will then sing an Advent hymn fitting for the theme of that stop. We will end the time of reading and singing with a Scriptural promise of deliverance that gave hope to the exiles during that period and we will light a candle on the Advent candelabra to symbolize the light of hope shining in the midst of their darkness. Then we eat! We will repeat this process until the 5th stop where we will hear of the birth of the Savior. At this stop we will celebrate by popping the corks on the Champagne and Martinelli’s and partaking of only fattening things. We will close with a toast and full-throated rendition of Joy to the World as we celebrate our Lord’s first coming and the sure hope of His second coming.
- Stop #1 From Garden Dwellers to Exiles
- Stop #2 Wilderness Wanderings: From Egypt to Exile
- Stop #3 Assyrian Exile: Israel in Exile\
- Stop #4 Babylonian Exile: Judah in Exile
- Stop #5 Salvation for Exiles: A Child is born
Please join us this Sunday for this time of contemplation and celebration. It is a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas.