Get ready for Advent now

George Frideric Handel used this scripture from Isaiah in his famous work, Messiah, first performed in 1742, and which millions of people have heard or even sang since then. The entire lyrics of Messiah are derived from scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments that describe the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. (Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.) In 2019 Advent starts on December 1.

So, what is Christmas?

Christmas is both a secular and religious holiday. For those who observe it’s spiritual significance, Christmas is celebrated as the day the infant Jesus Christ was born (although Biblical scholars doubt that December 25 is exactly the correct day.)

Christians celebrate the season with a rich tradition of church services which feature Bible readings about Jesus’ birth and special music. And almost 300 years ago, a musician combined these traditions to create one of the most well known and often performed works of music.

"For unto us a son is given" baby lying in a manger
quote from Isaiah 9:6; graphic from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, affiliate link

Handel’s Messiah

George Frideric Handel used this scripture from Isaiah in his famous work, Messiah, first performed in 1742, and which  millions of people have heard or even sang since then. The entire lyrics of Messiah are derived from scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments that describe the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

 Handel’s Messiah -Listen on Apple Music 

Handel’s father  was a barber-surgeon. Barber-surgeons were physicians in medieval Europe, who as the name suggests performed surgery, often treating wounds from war injuries. Eventually, surgery and barbery became separate occupations.

Christmas manger display
photo by Dr. Aletha of a Nativity display at my church

Read another post on this blog to learn more about Handel and Messiah; did you know it wasn’t written for Christmas?

Resources for Advent- from Cokesbury

these are affiliate links which may pay a commission to help support this blog

Find the perfect Advent calendar for now and years to come at Cokesbury. Valid 10/28-11/22. Shop Now! Start planning now for a meaningful Advent season at Cokesbury. Offer Valid 9/1-11/30. Shop Now! Christmas 2019 at Cokesbury.com. Shop Now!

sharing the HEART of Advent

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Advertisements

The Heart of Christmas

My family and I send Christmas wishes for peace, love, joy, and the HEART of health to you and all those you love.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

(Luke 2:11–14)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Christmas nativity scene
photo of a Nativity set at my church-Dr. Aletha 

If you are grieving the loss of someone you love, please know that I care. My husband lost his brother a few weeks ago, so we also are missing someone, plus all the others we have lost through the years. We feel their absence most at the holidays.

I pray you’ll find comfort in sharing love with those still here, whether in person or at a distance. My family and I send Christmas wishes for peace, love, joy, and the HEART of health to you and all those you love.

in faith, hope, and love always Dr. Aletha

Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.
graphic from LIGHTSTOCK.COM

Advent Words from Luke

The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]

Luke chapter 2, New Living Translation 

 
The Shepherds and Angels
 
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
 
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
 
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
 
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
 
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
 
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
 
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 
 
 
shepherds raising arms to the sky
Shepherds drawing by Bill Hart

The late Bill Hart was a professional artist. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was part of the force which invaded  and liberated  France in 1944. You can read Bill’s story at this link. 

The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]

Many families observe Advent with Bible readings, lighting candles, songs, and stories to remind them of the events leading up to the birth of Christ as told in the New Testament. (these are affiliate links for you to consider and help support this blog with a commission on any purchases you make while reviewing)

Tidings of Joy Fabric Advent Calendar (Countdown to Christmas)

sharing the HEART of Advent

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Advent Words from Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote prolifically, creating one of the greatest collections of American poetry, depicting the history of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. He published the first of his poems at 13 years old.

Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote prolifically, creating one of the greatest collections of American poetry, depicting the history of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. He published the first of his poems at 13 years old.

Henry’s first marriage ended tragically with his wife Mary’s death from complications of a  miscarriage. He sank into suicidal depression after her death.

He regained  happiness with his second wife, Fanny, with whom he had six children. Again, tragedy struck when she was severely burned from candle wax and died soon after. Henry was burned trying to help her, and may have grown his well-known beard to hide the scars on his face.

During the American Civil War his son Charley fought for the Union ; he suffered severe wounds, and his father cared for him until he recovered. During this time, Henry wrote Christmas Bells.

Despite, and perhaps due to his family’s medical challenges, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote poetry that touched people’s hearts and minds then and now.

Go here to read The True Story of Pain and Hope behind this beloved Christmas carol.

Christmas tree, statues of old man and a boy
photo by Dr. Aletha

What is Advent?

The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]

Many families observe Advent with Bible readings, lighting candles, songs, and stories to remind them of the events leading up to the birth of Christ as told in the New Testament. (these are affiliate links for you to consider and help support this blog with a commission on any purchases you make while reviewing)

sharing the HEART of Advent

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Thank you for considering the affiliate links in this post, which fund this blog.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Advent Words from Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, English writer, wrote some of the most beloved and quoted literature in the English language. Almost everyone is familiar with his Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol .

I will honor Christmas in my heart. Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens, English author

Charles Dickens, English writer, wrote some of the most beloved and quoted literature in the English language. Almost everyone is familiar with his Christmas classic,

A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas,

better known as  A Christmas Carol,

which has been portrayed on stage and film – there are even animated versions.

Another Dickens book created the name for a medical condition –

Pickwickian syndrome: The combination of obesity, somnolence (sleepiness), hypoventilation (underbreathing), and plethoric (red) face.

The syndrome is so named because of the “fat and red-faced boy in a state of somnolency” that Charles Dickens described in his novel, The Pickwick Papers. (The same boy is thought by some experts possibly to have had the Prader-Willi syndrome).

Dickens may have been the “first celebrity medical spokesman.” 

What is Advent?

The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]

Many families observe Advent with Bible readings, lighting candles, songs, and stories to remind them of the events leading up to the birth of Christ as told in the New Testament. (these are affiliate links for you to consider and help support this blog with a commission on any purchases you make while reviewing)

sharing the HEART of Advent

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

And thank you for considering the affiliate links in this post, which fund this blog.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Christmas-making peace on earth

 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

(Luke 2:11–14)

 

 

 

Christmas manger display
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. (Isa. 9:6–7)

 

“My great desire for you this Christmas is that you enjoy this peace. We know that there are global aspects to this peace that lie in the future when

“the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). When, as Isaiah says,

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isa. 9:7).

But Jesus has come to inaugurate that peace among God’s people. And there are three relationships in which he wants you to pursue this peace and enjoy this peace.

Peace with God. Peace with your own soul. And peace with other people, as much as it lies in you.

And by peace, I mean not only the absence of conflict and animosity but also the presence of joyful tranquility, and as much richness of interpersonal communication as you are capable of.”

 

 

Excerpted from The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper

Listen to a short introduction from Dr. John Piper here, where you can download a PDF copy free or purchase a paperback or eBook.

Thank you for joining me in these Advent devotions. Here are the earlier posts from this series.

Week 1     Week 2     Week 3      Week 4

 

 

Advent , rejoicing with joy

“Worshiping Jesus means joyfully ascribing authority and dignity to Christ with sacrificial gifts.

 

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

MATTHEW 2:10

 

Three wise men

 

 

“Worshiping Jesus means joyfully ascribing authority and dignity to Christ with sacrificial gifts.

We ascribe ( credit, attribute, attach ) to him. We don’t add to him.

God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything (Acts 17:25). “

 

 

 

Excerpted from

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper

 

Listen to a short introduction from Dr. John Piper here, where you can download a PDF copy free or purchase a paperback or eBook.