Advent, meaning “coming” or “arrival”, is intended to be a season of waiting—waiting for the Christ child to be born in our hearts anew, for God to create a new heaven and a new earth, for Christ to come again, and the reign of God to come to this world.
Throughout this season, we read stories of John the Baptist announcing the in-coming of Christ’s ministry and we listen to angel messengers saying to Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, and Elizabeth “do not be afraid.”We remember these stories to commemorate God’s incarnate promises having been fulfilled for us in Christ Jesus--Christ Emmanuel, or God with us, who humbly entered into the world while conceding to and exhorting vulnerability.Christ was and is a testament to how, in our weakness, we are made strong.
The fabric used for our pastor and deacon "Guiding Light" stoles is multi-toned with metallic lines that twist and shimmer. This fabric invokes the colors of the morning sky right before the sun’s dawning, reminding us of life and God's blessings to come. On the shoulder is a guiding star inspired by the light that led the Magi to baby Jesus.
New to our collection this year is our “Eternal Light ”stole featuring the four words we use to commemorate the four weeks of Advent (hope, peace, joy, and love).These words are set ablaze in anticipation of the eternal hope we have in Christ Jesus.Remembering that Advent is a time of expectancy, we reflect on the stories of Christ’s birth as we await the second coming of Christ.The hope we carry helps us recall God’s promise that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God and Christ’s eternal light.
Our “Ignited Love” pastor and deacon stoles recall the four candles of an Advent wreath. Candles, lights, and illuminations used throughout Advent remind us that Christ’s light of love vanquishes the evil forces of the world. On our pastor stoles, the flames can be snapped onto each candle every Sunday as you journey through the season.Paul wrote in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”We included this verse on the collar because it uplifts the spirit of Advent so well.
Next, our “In Search of Sanctuary” stole features Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem.This stole recalls the difficulties Mary and Joseph had in finding a safe place to have their baby in Bethlehem.Remembering how, after Jesus was born, the Holy Family also had to flee to Egypt, we cry out for and uplift refugees in search of sanctuary in our world today.Our featured verse reads, “‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’”This verse reminds us that God is the Great Accompanier, walking with us throughout life’s joys and wayward journeys.
Finally, "The Visitation" rounds out our Advent collection this year. This stole tells the story of Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visiting her relative, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John. In this apocalyptic season with less sunlight to go around, the scene of laughter and embrace these women conjure works to ignite our spirits and lift our hearts, encouraging us to bear fruit in the world as well. The verse on the back collar is Luke 1:45: "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."