The Advent wreath, at first glance, is just a pleasing seasonal decoration, much like strings of lights or mistletoe. A ring of evergreens, five bright candles—what could be more appropriate for the Christmas season? Not until worshipers understand how the wreath symbolizes the meaning of the Advent season do they begin seeing in the evergreen and candles a visual reminder of the coming of Christ.
The practice of preaching according to a lectionary is an old one, although Reformed and Presbyterian churches have not always used this method. The lectionary encourages both pastor and congregation to focus on the great salvation events recorded in Scripture. (See the article on page 14 for further background.)
A LITANY OF THANKSGIVING (I)
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer. Let us remember his mercy, for he is gracious and compassionate.
We thank you for calling us to faith in Christ,
for putting your Spirit within us,
for giving us the mind of Christ,
for gathering us into your church.
Most of us are not eager to add another special service to the calendar, and if observing Reformation Day just leads to another hour of Rome-bashing, we may as well skip it. But gratitude for our heritage and reflection on what it means to be Reformed today are not soon out of season; combining these elements in one service can add color and depth to our worship.