What are some ways to see the season of Advent with fresh eyes and renewed energy? Watch and download this video which explains the symbols and meanings associated with Advent. MaryJane Pierce Norton shares ideas about how we can center ourselves around the peace, love, and joy that emerges throughout this season. The inspiring piece includes a beautiful collection of images taken by photographers from various United Methodist conferences and agencies. Perfect for social sharing online, individual reflection or to use in a group setting.
MaryJane Pierce Norton, Discipleship Ministries: "Advent done well helps us center ourselves and counterbalances that consumerism, that drive, that frantic nature of activity that is all around us in the culture. and one of the primary symbols is light overcoming darkness, dispelling the things that, that tear us down and welcoming in the light of God.
I think it's important to remember that we as adults may become a bit jaded. But for children, there is a new excitement every year. And just like we start and think about the new year with January 1, as Christians we start thinking how am I going to meet with Jesus again in this season in a way that I might not have last year or may not next year. We have been building that tradition now over decades and it has become a very meaningful part of who we are as United Methodists.
There are certain things that help us stay centered in Advent. One is, who do you see or who have you come in contact with who needs to know God's love for them? If you think about that, you can recast something as simple as sending Christmas cards, a practice that we might be doing anyway but becomes enriched because we are asking the question, who needs God's message of love this week?
There are several things that we can do to bring Advent into the home. One of those is the Advent wreath. Most are in a circle and represent that unending love of God for us. We have evergreen showing that there is no ending to God's presence, it's always alive. Then we use the four candles, to represent the coming of the light of Jesus into the world, breaking apart the darkness. We then use colors to represent that season of Advent. We are either going to use purple or dark blue. This is a time of reflection, and those colors keep us in a place that is not that pure brightness that Christmas is going to be. And that building of light week by week is just such a reminder of how one act becomes another act becomes another act that does break through darkness with kindness, with mercy, with peace, with love, with joy, to say yes, there is something bigger and better than just simply getting pressed down with the cares of the world. God's love is bigger than that."
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This video was first posted on Nov. 25, 2014. News media contact Joe Iovino, 615-742-5458.