December 2016 Message

Test Your “Advent IQ”

Pastor Ron Wiese

 

Here are some questions to test how much you know about the Advent Season:

 

True or False: Jesus left His disciples explicit directions about how to celebrate the Church Year.

The word “Advent” means:

            a) coming  

            b) thankful 

            c) Christmas shopping in full swing 

            d) a new beginning.

 

True or False: Advent has always been a somber, penitential season.

 

The appropriate color of Advent is (choose one):

       a) blue 

       b) purple 

       c) pink 

       d) all the above

       e) none of the above

 

True or False: The Advent wreath traditionally used four candles.

 

The Advent wreath originated

            a) in medieval France 

            b) with Martin Luther 

            c) devised by a German pastor in 1830 

            d) with the 1st century Church

 

True or False: Advent always begins on the first Sunday in December.

 

True or False: Advent makes its presence known by certain decorations in the church.

 

True or False: Each Advent candle has a special, symbolic meaning: the first candle is “hope,” the second candle is “love”, the third candle “joy,” and the fourth ”peace.”

 

 

Answers:

False. Jesus gave no specific instructions on how to celebrate His birth, death or resurrection. Over the years, the Church Year was developed as a useful tool to guide Christian worship.

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The word “Advent” means “coming” and refers to the three-fold coming of Jesus: His first coming as the Messiah, His coming to us now through His Word and Sacrament, and His final coming at the End of Time.

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False. In Gaul, Advent was viewed as a companion of Lent, but in Rome the emphasis was on preparing for Christ’s incarnation and was thus more joyful.

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All the above. Originally, Advent candles were whatever color was available. Today many Advent wreaths have 3 purple and 1 rose candle or 4 blue candles.

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True. The traditional Advent wreath includes four candles, with one lit the first week and additional candles on following weeks. Sometimes a white candle is put in the center and lit on Christmas Eve.

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We don’t know. Candles were used by early Christians to represent the presence of Christ. The evergreen came to symbolize eternal life. We don’t know for sure when the two were joined together.

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False. Advent begins on the closest day to November 30th. This year it is November 27th.

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True. Look around the church nave and see all the symbols of Advent, including the Advent wreath, the paraments and the Chrismon tree (going up on December 11th).

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False. There is no specific meaning or symbolism of the candles, except as a ”count-down” to Christmas. The Advent Season, along with the wreath and other traditions, was created by the Christian Church as a way to “make time Christian.”

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Modified from an “Advent IQ” test created by Martha Israel who served for many years as Pastor Wiese’s Parish Assistant and Organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Memphis, TN.

 

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