The Season of Advent  November  26th  to December 17th  2016

Symbolism and Tradition
Advent, marks the beginning of the Christian calendar for many Christians : Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Moravians, Presbyterians, Methodists with notable exceptions such as the Coptic and Ukrainian Orthodox churches.
It is celebrated on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, December 25th as we wait expectantly for the nativity the birth of Jesus Christ.                         
In ancient times it was a period of strict fasting and penitence similar to Lent except for the third Sunday in Advent when fast was relaxed during the Gaudette Sunday-Sunday of Joy.
The placement of the Advent wreath, a circular ever green candle holder  with five candles follows a long standing tradition. Typically, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday, and the fifth is lit on Christmas Eve. At St. Bartholomew’s we us the traditional three colors for the candles, purple, pink, and white.
A special prayer, with emphasis on the spiritual tenet of the day is said by the Leader and the congregation before each candle is lit often by the youth.
For example readings for the first Sunday in Advent relate to the old testament patriarchs who were Christ's ancestors, so the first advent candle is that of Hope. Within recent times, with the frequency and persistence of conflict, Hope  and Peace are definitely crucial and often on our minds.
Recapping the  purple color candles signifying Hope, Peace, Love, are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent respectively. The third candle a pink candle representing Joy is lighted on the third Sunday; while the White Christ candle is lit during the Christmas Eve service.
Preparation for Christmas during the four weeks of Advent is an opportunity to reflect on God’s gifts to us the greatest being his son Jesus Christ, a time for frequent prayer, to be thankful for and cherish family and friends.
In the secular world, it can be related to the four weeks of shopping after Black Friday. However, many families with limited incomes wait expectantly for donations of clothing, gifts,  and food.
To lessen chances of a child  receiving nothing  our parishioners pack  Samaritan boxes for children,(International distribution),  give donations in kind and gifts to organizations, or individuals, arrange  a Christmas Community  luncheon for our Food Bank Clients and  hold a special observance  Blue Christmas worship service.
This year the Blue Christmas service will be held on December 17th at 700pm service at the church.   We recognise that not everyone is in a joyful mood for Christmas as bereavement, illness, separation or family conflict  has occurred during the preceding months or year.                                                                                                            
This reflective worship allows us to receive the Peace of the Holy Spirit and allow us to welcome the greatest gift of all the birth of Christ into our hearts.

O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
June .