The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany take us through the experience of longing for Jesus, his arrival, and the revelation of his glory to us.
Advent is a season of expectation, when we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. Christmas is a season of celebration, when we joyously commemorate His birth. Here at Redemption City Church, we invite you to rediscover these ancient patterns of faith that root us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We have done our best to compile the ways you can get involved both in our worship gatherings and as families in the wonderful seasons of Advent and Christmas.
A Quick Guide to the Seasons:
Advent is the holy season that precedes Christmas. From the Latin adventus (“arrival”), it is a time of hope and expectancy, when Christians prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ. Advent encompasses the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to Christmas. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, a date that changes every year. The length of the season varies between 22 and 28 days. In 2016, Advent begins on November 27.
Advent is the first season of the church calendar and marks the beginning of the liturgical year, the annual cycle of seasons observed by Christians through the centuries. At its most basic, the church calendar consists of fasts and feasts — seasons of preparation and celebration — that correspond to the key events of Christ's life and ministry.
It's appropriate that Advent opens the church year. Just as Luke's Gospel begins with the birth of John the Baptist, the one who would "prepare the way" for Christ, the church's yearly cycle begins with the preparatory rhythms of Advent.
On December 25, Advent gives way to Christmas, and our hope gives way to joy. Our longing turns to love, our aching to peace. God has kept his promise: the Savior has come. It’s time to celebrate! In the Western Christian tradition, the Christmas season runs from December 25 to January 5. Christmas is not a single day — it’s twelve days. For Christians, December 25 marks the beginning of this celebratory season, not the end of it.
The twelve days of Christmas commemorate the most important event in human history: the incarnation of Christ, the entry of God into the world He made. We cannot grasp the significance of this event in a single day. Having prepared our hearts through Advent, we need time to rejoice and reflect. We journey through the twelve days of Christmas with gladness, thanking God for His mercy, for the gift of Christ, for shining His Light in the darkness and showing us the way to salvation.
This time of year can be busy, we know. With that in mind, we've tried to keep things simple and focused on fostering a devotion to christ in all who celebrate with us.
Advent WOrship Gatherings
December 3rd: First Advent Worship Gathering (5pm)
December 10th: Second Advent Worship Gathering (5pm)
December 17th: Third Advent Worship Gathering (5pm)
December 24th: Four Sunday in Advent and the Christmas Eve Worship Gathering
Christmas Worship Gatherings
December 24th: Christmas Eve Worship Gathering (4pm)
December 25th: Christmas Day Worship Gathering (5pm)
*the location for ALL Worship Gatherings is 25 E. 2nd St.
We are excited to introduce the Advent Wreath in our worship gathering this year. The Advent wreath consists of a simple circle of evergreens. It represents our hope of eternal life in Christ. The four outer candles mark the four Sundays of Advent. These four candles represent the light of God reaching the world through the birth of his son Jesus. In the center of the wreath is placed a fifth, larger, candle that represents the Savior, marking his place at the center of God’s plan.
Each Sunday, a different family in our church will participate in the Advent Wreath lighting and scripture reading. You can also find instructions on how to build your own and incorporate it at home in the Prepare Him Room Family Devotional (below).
RCC Bible reading plan
This Advent we launch year two of the RCC Bible reading plan. There are many Bible reading plans available, so what makes this plan unique? Why are we creating and promoting this plan? We have sought to create a bible reading plan that is unique in a few of its features.
Use of Repetition to Strengthen Comprehension. The best way to understand and retain the Scripture is to read it repetitively. The RCC plan takes you through the New Testament three times every year in such a way that you are immersed in one New Testament Gospel or Epistle for several days, absorbing its message and internalizing it in ways a flyover, one-time reading would not permit.
Sensitivity to the Church Calendar. The Church calendar reflects the storyline of the gospel. Beginning in Advent, the flow of the Church Year tells the story of Jesus:
Inclusion of a Daily Psalm. Each day a Psalm or a portion of a Psalm is included in the reading. In this way, you will complete the Psalms in a year. These Psalms serve as great aides for prayer in the evening or morning.
Reading on a Two Year Cycle. Because the reading plan is New Testament intensive, the Old Testament is read in its entirety over a two year span. If one completes the two year cycle, in two years they will read the New Testament six times, the Old Testament once, and the Psalms twice.
Be sure to pick up this month's book mark at the Connect Table on Sunday.
Find more information HERE.
Advent ANGEL tree
Our vision at RCC is to join with God in the renewal of all things. During the Advent and Christmas seasons, this will mean partnering again with North Frederick Elementary School to provide gifts and other needs for children whose families cannot afford them.
A full list of items, including a sign up and drop off are available at Church.
rcc Advent Playlist (Spotify)
One of the beautiful aspects of how God created music is that it, at it's best, it creates avenues for the gospel to root deep into our lives. God gave Moses a song in Deuteronomy 31 so that when the Israelites went through various troubles, sufferings, and trials, the song would comfort them with the truth of who God was.
In seasons of the year that are usually reserved for consumerism and the assertion of self, it is important that the songs of our hearts root us in the good news that Christ has come and that Christ is coming again. Our worship team has curated an Advent Music Playlist of both old and new songs to provide you with songs to do just that.