Tell Me a True Story

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Candle Ceremony Announces Advent.




My cozy beautiful church has shone brightly the past two Sundays with added Christmas decorations each week. Next Sunday the members will bring poinsettias to place across the front of the church, each in honor of a loved one.

My childhood church memories are of Christmas programs where the children memorized poems about the Savior. The young adult members usually presented a play that told a message or depicted the Christmas story. Our church always had a large beautifully decorated Christmas tree with boxes of Christmas candy and an orange for each child after the program.

As a child our church did not celebrate Advent with candles.

My present church does celebrate Advent, and on an oak table are those slender purple candles, “Hope, Love, Joy” and one pink candle representing, “Peace” with a larger white candle representing Christ in the center. The ritual is lovely and I am enjoying the pageantry of it all.  Although this church is different to me, my friends there are Saints and they accept me for who I am, even though I am a bit diverse in some ways.

In fact they are so much a part of me, that they welcome my stories as long as I keep them short and not too preachy. Although the members at my current church do not recognize it, the times that I share with my shortened and edited blog stories, they are receiving a Holy Spirit exhortation from the Lord. They ask me, why do your stories strike my heart as they do? Like an arrow that finds it mark they go where needed.

Some of my Charismatic friends have wondered why I would end up in a church that is so unlike my Pentecostal upbringing. There are several reasons, but the most important is that God sent me there, so it appears as if I am there to stay - - at least for now. God is teaching me to be patient, long suffering and respectful.

On Sunday our moderator announced that there is to be a Christmas Marriage ceremony at our church. The prospective couple came last Saturday to view our church and were so pleased with the decorations. All this will fit in beautifully with their Wedding plans as they come together to join two lives as one.

We are reminded that we join with our Lord to become one with Him as we prepare to celebrate His birthday!  The Advent - - the arrival of the Messiah, the dawn of a new day.

image courtesy photobucket.com


This post has been entered on Shanda's Best of 2011 blog hop in light of her One Year Blogaversary at: http://www.shandaoakleyinspires.com/  

11 comments:

  1. Isn't it amazing when the Holy Spirit speaks through us? No matter where we are, we can be used by God, and also, be filled in ways unexpected.

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  2. Hi Hazel:

    Like you I was raised in a church where advent wasn't celebrated with candles. However, I do love the idea. I am also attending (and a member) of a church that isn't like the one I was brought up in. However, I know without a shadow of doubt that God placed me there.

    Many blessings!

    Joan

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  3. And I, too, am attending a church very different from the denomination of my upbringing. Interesting!

    A Christmas wedding. How glorious!

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  4. Good for you. In the end, it doesn't matter so much how we approached worship, but more the fact that we come to worship the God of all, His son who died for our sins, was resurrected, sits on the the right hand of the throne and will come to judge this world. I too am lifted by your stories that shoot like an arrow to the heart that belongs to God.

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  5. The Lord did the same to my husband and I. Charismatic history, but in a very non-charismatic church now. Very strong in worship and teaching... but I need to be a little careful in my wording and obvious personality so there's no misunderstanding. My husband is on the worship team and does beautifully. Interesting when the Lord shifts us... we can learn much and we can love and teach others. The BODY is more important than the small variations of doctrine. We were surprised when this door opened so suddenly, but we have done well, been loved well, and been used beautifully.

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  6. I too have ended up at a church where I never thought I'd be but somehow I sense it is exactly where I'm supposed to be. So I really identify with what you're saying! Looking forward to reading your 'arrow filled' stories!

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  7. I am learning that God often calls us out of our comfort zones so that we can rely heavily on His grace. Thanks for being an example of that for us to follow!

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  8. The beauty that is such a part of this season just nourishes my heart. The lights, the greens, the colors, all point me to Him, the author of beauty and life. And to have your house of worship decorated in such a lovely way is a blessing!

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  9. I enjoyed your post...We use the pink candle as JOY...It is so interesting to see where God takes people along life's journey!

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  10. I have attended various denominations in my moves around the world. What has impressed upon my heart is that we are all Christians and all will find out we have beliefs that aren't quite right when we get to heaven. I spent 5 years in a church in Costa Rica that celebrated advent and it was my first experience with this. I loved it.

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  11. I love your stories, Hazel. And I love the Advent wreath tradition too. Something about that light...

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