Sunday, December 26, 2010

Announcements: Epiphany (Jan 2, 2011) Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Mission parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Nativity Narrative: Thank you to Bernina and all involved in the Christmas Eve nativity play. It was the first time we have ever tried it and it was excellent. Holy Rosary was packed to e overflowing. Here is a picture of the rehearsal the day before. The play starred twelve children from ages 4-10.

Thank you: Thank you to the Clark family who came by on Christmas eve before mass and decorated the outside Christmas tree with lights and star. The tree was donated by Cindy, who won it from Ducks Unlimited.

Thank you: Our music during Christmas eve was beautiful. Bernina Venua played her flute for the presentation and communion hymns, while Brian Venua played music on the piano for the entrance and recessional. The was the fourteen year old Brian’s fist time taking responsibility to be the musician at Mass. Thank you for helping to make our liturgy prayerful and spiritual.

Note from the Pastor: For a priest like me, where this is my first assignment as a priest, it is such a blessing to see so many Catholics come to the Christmas Eve mass. My heart was warmed! I did not count the people but there was standing room only. I am thinking between 125 and 150 people attended Holy Rosary in Dillingham. At Saint Theresa’s Christmas Eve mass there was also a good turnout of around 40 to 50 people. Thank you! Have a very Merry Christmas Season.

Gospel: Epiphany: (Please see Homily and readings below) Just what is an Epiphany? It is a Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. Epiphany is a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. It is a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something. Epiphany can be a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization: “I experienced an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself” (Frank Maier).

Have a great week and see you Sunday, Fr. Scott


Epiphany Jan 2, 2011, Yr A, Isa 60: 1-6 , Eph 3: 2-3a, 5-6 Mat 2: 1-12

Story: When I first came to Alaska I had a job as a construction worker. It fizzled out six days after I started. I started painting houses. A person’s house I was painting worked at Arco Alaska. She told me I should apply for a job. I got a job as computer graphics specialist in the exploration drafting department. After awhile, I felt I was in a dead end job.

I came to a new understanding. I started thinking about college. I prayed about it. I decided to attend UAF. It meant quitting my high paying job. It meant suffering because of the income loss, the transition, and moving away from friends. Finally, I received a business degree and became a Confirmed Catholic. I thanked God for turning my life around.

What made me quit my job at Arco and go to College? I call it an Epiphany. An Epiphany is spark of spiritual inspiration. It is an intuitive grasp of reality through a simple and striking event. It is a divine sign spurring us into action. In the gospel the very idea of Gentiles coming to celebrate the birth of a Jewish Messiah is an Epiphany.

We can all have Epiphanies. They appear when we recognize the light of Christ in our lives? Epiphanies enlighten us to a new understanding causing us to change to a holier way of life.

For example: You dropped out of college years ago, but you recently made plans to return. I had friend in college. He kept looking at x rated websites. He took out the modem card, broke it, and chucked it out the window.

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh clues us in on the events that take place during an epiphany.

Gold is symbolizes a new understanding. It represents new wisdom.

Frankincense represents divinity and prayer. It points to a holy way of living that has come into the world in Jesus Christ.

Myrrh tells of the suffering involved in changing our way of life. It foretells the cross. It reminds us always of the price we must pay for anything worthwhile.

How does an epiphany work?

GOLD is a reminder to call on the Holy Spirit for openness to a new understanding or Epiphany. Ever had a real tough decision to make? Struggling with that decision may be an Epiphany in the making. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in that decision.

Frankincense reminds us we have to pray. Pray everyday about that new understanding…that inspiration…that epiphany you have received. Is that new understanding something that will make our life better and holier?

Myrrh reminds us that an Epiphany requires us to do something…make a change. That usually involves suffering. Call on Jesus to help you through that suffering.

Finally, thank God for that better and holier lifestyle (468 Words with story).

Isaiah 60: 1-6
Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, For the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Ephesians 3: 2-3a & 5-6
Brothers and sisters, you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit, (namely, that) the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier, which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Mat 2: 1-12 – “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem saying, Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage. When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word that I too may go and do him homage. After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”

Research for homily:
Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior were three astrologers…men who studied the stars and discovered the meaning of human life on earth. They believed that solar marvels accompanied the birth of great kings. Modern astrologers tell us that there was an unusual solar phenomenon around the time of Jesus’ birth. This unusually bright star led the three wise astrologers to where this great king was. They read the signs in the stars and recognized the true identity of God’s light to us…the Christ Child.

Frankincense is a fragrant, aromatic resin, or gum resin, burned as an incense in religious rites or for medicinal fumigation. It comes from East Indian trees, of the genus Boswellia; and from the Norway spruce (Abies excelsa). The frankincense of the ancient Jews is still unidentified.

Myrrh is a gum resin, usually of a yellowish brown or amber color, of an aromatic odor, and a bitter, slightly pungent taste. It is valued for its odor and for its medicinal properties. It exudes from the bark of a shrub of Abyssinia and Arabia. The myrrh of the Bible is supposed to have been partly the gum above named, and partly the exudation of species of Cistus, or rockrose.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Announcements: Christmas & Holy Family Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

CLARKS POINT CHRISTMAS: On Friday, December 17th, I was able to fly to Clarks Point for a Christmas Mass. It was an ecumenical celebration. The children put together a nativity scene puzzle and the adults who were not Catholic came forward for a blessing. Below, in the Gym at Clarks Point, children wait for the Mass to begin.

Clarks Point community members sing the opening Christmas song, "O Come all Ye Faithful." (December 17, 2010). We were fortunate to have the village elder Mun (bottom row third from the right), a 90 year old Yupik, attend the Mass.

CHRISTMAS MASS SCHEDULE: During Christmas there will be a Christmas Eve Mass beginning at 7:30 PM, Friday, December 24th. There will be no Mass Saturday, Christmas Day. We will celebrate Mass on Sunday, December 26 at 12:30 PM (the Holy Family).

NATIVITY PLAY PRACTICE: Please come to the rehearsal for our Christmas Play. The rehearsal is for all children between the ages of three and eight. It will be at Holy Rosary Parish, Thursday, December 23rd, at 2:00 PM. Please call Bernina Venua for more info, 842-1275.

THANK YOU: Thanx to all who helped decorate the Church on Sunday. It looks wonderful.

AROUND THE MISSION: While in Clarks Point on Friday I lost all of my avionics. My engine was still running fine so I took off and flew the 12 miles to Dillingham. I am in the process of pinpointing the short. I also lost my GPS in Clarks Point. It fell out of my Pack. I had the whole town of Clarks looking for it. I finally found it under the pilots seat in the airplane.

HOLY ROSARY MISSION HATS: I ordered 30 more Holy Rosary hats today. Let me know if you are interested.

INTERNET DONATIONS: On our website we have a donation button. This last month I received two donations totaling $200. The Archdiocese of Anchorage is also developing some forms we can use so parishioners can donate on-line or directly to the bank, if they so choose to do so. There are people now who have never signed a check and will probably never have a checkbook.

GOSPEL: Our nativity scene and Christmas card portray the birth of Christ as very neat, clean, and tidy. Most of my Christmas celebrations have never been that orderly. Please see Homily below.

Merry Christmas!! Have a fantastic week and see you Friday! Fr. Scott


Christmas, 2010: God Meets us in our Humanity:

Today Christmas looks very neat and clean. The Christmas carols we sing and the cards we send make the Nativity look beautiful, and refreshing.

Christmas’s I have experienced in my life have been a little messy. How about yours?

One year I was trying to figure out the present my Grandfather got me. I accidentally ripped it open. It was a holster and two toy six shooters in all of their glory. My Dad was not a happy camper.

Another time my brother and sister and I, I was about 12 years old, decided to get my mom a blender. We saved all our money and got the lady at Brandis Drug Store to give us a huge discount. While at the dinner one evening before Christmas I blurted out, Mom, I can’t wait until you open your blender!

My mom had a new camera. She set the timer, ran over to sit with us in front of the Christmas tree, and fell backward right on top of the tree. Ornaments shattered, lights shorted out, tinsel floated to the ground. My mom was floundering around trying to crawl out from the tree. My eyes were like saucers as I couldn’t believe what happened. Then everyone started laughing.

The birth of Jesus was a little messy as well. Mary and Joseph traveled several days across bandit infested wastelands. Nineteen year old Joseph had to help his fifteen year old wife have a baby. They had the child in a dark and cold manger. The smell of animals must have been nauseating.

The Birth of Jesus is about our God meeting us in our humanity. Jesus meets us as we are. Then, he takes us by the hand and helps us find the way to a life that has meaning and purpose. He takes us as we are and prepares us for eternal life.

This Christmas in the midst of the over-spending, of over-eating and excessive drinking: in the midst of being human, don’t forget what is important:

Bring God’s life to bear on the world every day. Don’t be afraid to bring up God at school, in the work place, at home with the family, in ordinary places you go every day, or in midst of utter chaos.

Christmas is the feast day when we are given the grace to search for an even deeper faith. It is the time of year to respond to everyone we meet with compassion because that is precisely what God did for us in Jesus.

This Christmas no matter how you feel, how stressed out you are, whether you are alone or with friends at Christmas, re-introduce yourself to our Lord and Savior. Let Jesus meet the real you. And then let him lead you down a path of peace, joy, and everlasting life. Merry Christmas everyone (472 Words).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Announcements: 4th Week of Advent Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

CONGRATS: Congratulations to George and Ruth Barnard who celebrated a con-validation of their marriage Sunday December 12, 2010. There civil marriage was on December 9th sixteen years ago.

CHRISTMAS EVE MASS: Mass will be at 7:30 Christmas eve, December 24th. There will be no Mass on Christmas day.

CHRISTMAS DECORATING: If possible, please stay after Mass this Sunday and help us decorate for Christmas. Your donations of time will be greatly appreciated.

CHRISTMAS TREE: Our Christmas tree is being donated by Cindy, who won it in a raffle from Ducks Unlimited. Thank you so much Cindy!

CHRISTMAS PLAY Rehearsal This Sunday: Here are the parts for the Christmas Narrative that will be during Mass on Christmas Eve.

Mary: Annalee C.
Joseph: Jacob B.
Wiseman: Alethia B., Madeson S., Satie T.
Angels: Katelyn S., Skylar T
King Herod: Logan Ho
Shepherds: Kenzie J., Karis W.
Inn Keepers: Whitney W., Reyna T.

Please contact Bernina Venua for more information (907-843-12750. The first rehearsal will be after Mass, December 19 (this Sunday). There is room for two more children if they would like to volunteer to help out. No memorization of parts is needed. (SEE THE NATIVITY NARRATIVE BELOW)

GOSPEL: The Gospel is the beautiful story about the Annunciation and the plight that Joseph was faced with. Below is the gospel in my own words.

LECTOR BOOKS: New lector books for 2011 have been ordered and should be here this week.

KENMORE RANGE: The new Kenmore self-cleaning electric cooking range should be shipped this week on Evert’s Air Cargo. The cost was $404 for the 30” range and about $150 to $200 for shipping.

Have a fantastic week of Advent and see you Sunday…Fr. Scott

HOMILY: 4th Week of Advent, Year A, 2010, Gospel in my words

In our Catholic Christian tradition, we have a story. We have a true story about how our lord and savior came into the world.

Marriage was a bit different 2000 years ago. People back then took engagement very seriously. Engagement was like being married. Mary and Joseph were betrothed to each other.

Betrothed means that a formal contract of marriage had been made between two people and then blessed by the church. To be betrothed is similar to what we think marriage is except for one thing: Mary and Joseph had a waiting period before they could actually live together and start having children.

So, although betrothed, or married, they could not live together. During this waiting period something happened…of all the bad luck.

God decided to stir up their lives. God sent down the Holy Spirit to impregnate Mary, which is know as the annunciation. The lives of Mary and Joseph would never be the same.

It was not a pretty sight. Joseph’s true colors showed when he heard of Mary’s pregnancy. He did not believe Mary at first. Joseph thought that she had another boy friend.

But, being the solid, caring, religious man that he was, he did not want to shame Mary. Even though he thought Mary was not telling the truth about how she became pregnant, he kept things very quiet. He did not want to humiliate her. He loved her that much.

But the real problems came about after people found out. The members of the community began to shun Mary.

In the mean time, an angel appeared to Joseph. The angel basically told Joseph that, “I know it’s a little hard to believe, and it has never happened in the history of the planet, but your wife Mary has conceived threw the Holy Spirit. In her womb is the Savior of our world.”

He told Joseph to go ahead and take Mary as his wife. He also said to name the baby Jesus. “Jesus,” the angel said, “Will save us from our sins.”

Keep in mind that in the days before Jesus, most everyone knew the Old Testament inside and out. Before the angel of God left, he told Joseph something very interesting. The angel asked Joseph to recall an Old Testament scripture from Isaiah. Isaiah said, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."

It finally downed on Joseph the huge responsibility before him. He had encountered God. He trusted God so much that all other considerations were put aside. He listened to God and made the right decision, even though it was a difficult one.

For Joseph, his faith finally came through very strongly. He was compassionate and he did not condemn harshly. He followed the law of God. He had the moral courage to seek to do the right thing, even though it is not necessarily the Law of Man. He was able to discern the right path forward by listening to what God wanted. The End…which is really the Beginning (515 Words).

Isaiah 7:10-14
Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, "I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!" Then he said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Romans 1:1-7
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:18-24
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Nativity Story

About two thousand years ago, in the town of Nazareth, there lived a young woman named Mary. She was engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter. One day an angel appeared before her and told her she had been chosen to nave a special baby. The baby would be God's son and she must call him Jesus.

Soon after the angel's visit, Mary and Joseph were married. Mary was due to have her baby when they were told they had to go on a long journey to Bethlehem, which was where Joseph came from. his was because they had to pay a special tax. Mary had to ride on a donkey for a few days over the hills of Gallilee.

At last Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. It was crowded with other people who needed to pay their taxes. Mary was very tired and needed a place to stay. At each inn, the story was the same. There was no room for them. Eventually, one kind innkeeper said he had a stable where he kept his animals. They were welcome to stay there.
And so it was that a few hours later, Mary gave birth to her son in that stable. She wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger full of hay.

At the same time, on a hillside overlooking Bethlehem, some shepherds were watching over their sheep. A bright light appeared in the sky. They were very afraid. It was an angel sent by God. The angel told them not to be afraid, because he had some good news. He said the Son of God had been born and they would find Him in Bethlehem.

The shepherds wanted to go and see the baby. When they arrived at the stable, they were filled with joy at seeing Jesus lying in the manger. They knelt down and worshipped Him. They told Mary and Joseph how the angel had appeared in the sky and told them that Jesus was to be the Savior of the world.

Far away in the East, Wise Men saw a new star shining high in the sky. These men studied the stars and they knew this was a very special star. They studied their scrolls where it said that whenever a bright new star appeared it meant that a great ruler had been born.

The Wise Men decided to find this new ruler. They went to Jerusalem to see King Herod, as they thought the baby would be in the palace. They asked to see the child that would be King of the Jews. The king was troubled. He thought this new king may take away his throne. He told them to return when they had found the baby so that he could worship the child himself.

The Wise Men set off to find the baby. They were guided by the star to the stable in Bethlehem. Here they knelt down and worshipped Jesus. They gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. That night, the men had the same dream where an angel warned them that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus and told them not to go back to his palace.

The Wise Men went back to their own country without calling to see Herod. Soon after Joseph had a dream where an angel told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt as King Herod had ordered that Jesus be killed. They left Bethlehem right away so they did not find Jesus as he was safe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Announcements: 3rd Sunday of Advent Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Mission Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Stained Glass: Thank you Mateo for the beautiful stained glass window of St. Francis and the Alaskan animals.

Marriage: George and Ruth Barnard will be celebrate the sacrament of Marriage during Mass this Sunday. During this marriage con-validation there will be prayers for the couple at the beginning of Mass, they will say their vows after the homily, and then at the end of Mass there will be a final nuptial blessing.

Potluck: After the Mass and Marriage on Sunday there will be a potluck. Please bring your favorite dish (not a requirement to attend, there will be plenty of food whether you bring something or not).

Rejoice: The rose candle will be lit for the third week of advent. The third candle, usually for the Third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally Pink or Rose, and symbolizes Joy at the soon Advent of the Christ. It marks a shift from the more solemn tone of the first two Sundays of Advent that focus on Preparation and Hope, to a more joyous atmosphere of anticipation and expectancy. Sometimes the colors of the sanctuary and vestments are also changed to Rose for this Sunday. As noted above, in some churches the pink Advent candle is used on the fourth Sunday to mark the joy at the impending Nativity of Jesus.

Around the Mission: Last week I celebrated Mass in King Salmon/Naknek and Dillingham. I flew to Clarks Point to give communion to one of the elders. Currently I am in Anchorage attending finance and canon law meetings.

New Range Purchase: While in Anchorage I purchase a Kenmore 30” self-cleaning electric range for $404. Pat Durban donated half of the cost for the range. Thank you so much Pat! I also picked up a cord to plug it in. The current range is about 30 to 40 years old and 24 inches.

Have a great week and see you Sunday…Fr. Scott

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Announcements: 2nd Sunday of Advent Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Mission Parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Christmas Schedule:

Holy Rosary: 7:30 PM Christmas Eve, Dillingham, AK

Saint Theresa: 4:00 PM Christmas Eve, King Salmon/Naknek

Saint Peter: 11:00, Friday, Dec. 17, School, Clarks Point

No Mass at the above villages on Christmas Day

Prayers: Liz Gardener died Tuesday, November 30, 2010 in King Salmon, AK. Please keep Ed Fundeen, the Gardener family, and all Liz’s friends and family in your prayers.

Marriage/Convalidation: George and Ruth will be married in the church during the Mass on Sunday, December 12. There will be a potluck to follow. Congrats George and Ruth!

Nativity Narrative for Children: During Mass on Christmas Eve Bernina and gang will introduce a children’s narrative. If you have children between the ages of 3 and 8 years of age, please contact Bernina Venua.

Christmas Mass at Clarks Point: There will be a Christmas Mass Friday, the 17th of December at 11:00 AM at the school gym in Clarks Point.

Gospel: Please see the Homily below, which describes the Advent Wreath.

Hope you all had a pleasant and wonderful Thanksgiving. See you Sunday…Fr. Scott

2 Week Advent A Sun DLG 2010, Is11:1-10; Rom15:4-9; Mat 3:1-12

The first part of Advent (December 1 – 16) highlights his Second Coming at the end of time, and the second part (December 17 - 24) emphasizes his coming into human history at the time of his birth in Bethlehem. This liturgical season features joy, hope, repentance, expectation and preparation for the coming of Christ.

The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that we need time to prepare for it…hence, we have the four weeks of Advent. During Advent season, our Catechism states, “God awakens in the hearts of those who don’t attend church and gives them an idea of how great the birth of Jesus is (Christmas).” It goes on to say that St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate forerunner, sent to prepare his way.

Our advent wreath is meant to remind us of the coming of Jesus. As a review I thought I would go over it again.

Purple/Violate: Purple signifies expectation, purification, and penance. A purple or violet color is to remind us that Advent is a season of preparation. We should be spiritually preparing our souls to receive Christ on Christmas.

Rose: Rose, only used the third Sunday of Advent, is symbolic of the Christmas joy. It means rejoice. Mixing violet with white makes the rose color.

Candles: The purple candles symbolize the prayer, penance, sacrifices, and goods works. The rose candle symbolizes an element of rejoicing in the midst of our penitential preparation.

Light: As candles are lit, the light increases. The birth of the Light of the World is coming closer. So may our souls grow brighter in their love for, and anticipation of, the Christ Child.

Circle: The wreath is always in the form of a circle. Circles have no beginning and no end. The circle of the wreath, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ…not a dead end.

Evergreens: Evergreens are “ever green” or “ever alive.” They symbolize Christ, who died, but is now alive, and who will never die again. Evergreens point to never ending life, strength, and healing. The Evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and everlasting life promised to us through Christ.

Pinecones: Pinecones or nuts used to decorate the wreath symbolize life and resurrection.

Holly and Red Berries: The prickly leaves of Holly remind us of the crown of thorns. Red berries, entwined in the Holly symbolize the blood shed by Christ for all mankind.

Blue Bowls: The blue bowls to hold the candles are to remind us of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who bore Jesus in her womb and brought Him forth into our world on Christmas.

Advent is about preparation…about reforming our lives so that we can live in God’s peace. By reforming our lives, we can let justice flourish.

Advent is about anticipation…about waiting for God to come into the world because he offers us peace, forgiveness, and healing.

Advent is about God comforting us and seeking out those who are lost or who have gone astray.

Advent is about patiently yet joyfully waiting of Jesus to save us (567 Words).

Why four weeks? Here’s a Question.

What do the for weeks of Advent Represent? Each week represents one thousand years: the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth Jesus.

Isaiah 11: 1-10 - But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Romans 15: 4-9 - For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: "Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name."

Mat 3: 1-12 - In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: "A voice of one crying out in the desert, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'" John wore clothing made of camel's hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."