Advent – (from the Latin adventus meaning “coming”) is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, Dec. 25. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting by the Israelites for the birth of the Messiah, and the waiting by Christians for the return of Christ. Perhaps the most famous hymn of Advent is: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Its lyrics, based on the Prophet Isaiah, articulate the hopeful anticipation of the Advent season:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Emmanuel -from the Hebrew name עִמָּנוּאֵל (‘Immanu’el) meaning “God is with us”. This was the foretold name of the Messiah in the Old Testament. Isaiah ch.7 v14

Heavenly Father,
We praise you for this time of Advent,
this time of preparation, thanksgiving, challenge and reflection.
We praise you that in the fulfilment of your eternal purpose you came to our
world in Jesus,
revealing the extent of your love,
showing us the way to life,
allowing us to know you for ourselves.
We give you thanks. Amen