Dear BLCF Friends,
Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
- attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
- attendees give their contact information upon arrival
- attendees observe two meters of social distance while seated
- attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
- attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
– Pastor Steve
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.
Message for Sunday:
‘Anticipating the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love in Christ:
‘First Advent Sunday- Hope’
© November 27, 2022, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages Shared at BLCF: November 28, 2021, November 29, 2020, December 2, 2018, and November 22, 2015
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Tithing and Prayer; Prayers; Praise God – Lauren Daigle – Music Special:
Lauren Daigle – “To God Be All Glory” (Lyric Video) – https://youtu.be/u9kMP_F1Asw
Responsive Reading #610: Christ in Prophecy (Isaiah 11 and 42, Jeremiah 23, Malachi 4)
The lighting of the First Advent Candle (Hope):
At this time, let us light the First Advent Candle to signify our Hope in the Lord:
Light of the World – [Lyric Video] Lauren Daigle – https://youtu.be/dCRunZGYBi4
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less Worship Video – Buller, Balzer and Aichele – https://youtu.be/3n5w_2IXvuA
Let us pray…
Good morning and welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, where on this glorious Sunday morning, is the last Sunday of November and the first Sunday of Advent 2022. Today, we shall signify Advent’s arrival by lighting the first of four Advent candles. Our lesson, today, is entitled: ‘Anticipating the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love in Christ – First Advent Sunday: Hope’, we begin by exploring the significance of the related events described in the Bible, that describe Advent as the arrival of people, things, and events around the time of our Savior’s birth.
To add to today’s celebration, BLCF Church would like to give each member of the congregation a personal copy of A Classic Christmas Caroling Songbook (Hendrickson Publishers). We will be using this songbook for today’s Advent Service and for the following four Sunday Services. So please remember to bring your Songbook back for the remainder of the year.
We shall use the songbook for a trial later in the service, singing a couple of selections accompanied by music on the overhead projector.
Let us continue with today’s Advent message, let us begin our lesson by looking at some definitions of terms regarding Advent. For this we shall check our Wikibits:
noun: advent; plural noun: advents
- the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
E.g. “the advent of television”
|synonyms:||arrival, appearance, emergence, materialization, occurrence, dawn, birth, rise, development; More
“the advent of a new school year”
- the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
- Christian Theology; the coming or second coming of Christ.
The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year in western Christianity. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, beginning on the Sunday nearest St Andrew’s Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Day. St Andrew was born in Bethesda on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and was the younger brother of St Peter. Both he and his brother became disciples of Jesus. He is said to have died bound to an “X” shaped cross at Patras in Achea in Greece. This shape is now reflected in the Scottish flag, known as the Saltire. St Andrew has been recognized as the patron saint of Scotland since at least the ninth century. St Andrew’s Day falls on November 30, according to many Christian churches. St Andrew’s Day is a bank holiday in Scotland. However, the bank holiday falls on Monday, December 1 or 2 if November 30 is a Saturday or Sunday.
The church year begins on September 1 in many eastern Christian churches, so Advent starts at a different time to when it starts in the western churches. The eastern equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, which runs for 40 days.
It is uncertain as to when exactly the celebration of Advent was first introduced in the Christian church. Some sources say that Advent began on November 11 (St Martin’s Day) at some time in the fifth century in the form of a six-week fast leading to Christmas. Advent was reduced to its current length at some stage in the sixth century and fasting was later no longer observed. Advent is originally a time to reflect and prepare for Christmas similar to how Lent is in preparation for Easter. Advent has sometimes been referred to as the Winter Lent. In recent times the restrictions that Advent brings to Christians have become more relaxed.
Purple is historically the main color used for Advent because it reflects penitence, fasting, and the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the king (Jesus Christ). The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Some churches use other colors in recent times. For example, some churches mark the third Sunday of Advent with pink or rose, colors that represent joy. Many Protestant churches use blue to distinguish the Season of Advent from Lent.
Advent wreaths are symbolic of Advent in some countries. They are usually made of fir and decorated with gold and silver ribbons or scarlet woolen threads. Lit wreaths may be displayed on the table where family and friends sit while singing carols and preparing handmade gifts.
In our first Scripture Verse, Isaiah 11:1-10 (ESV), we find a prophecy of the Advent of the arrival of the “shoot from the stump of Jesse”, a descendant of Jesse, the father of King David;
The Righteous Reign of the Branch
11 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Our second Scripture Verse, Jeremiah 33:14-16 (ESV), where the Lord describes the prophecy in terms of the Advent of fulfillment of His Eternal Covenant:
The Lord’s Eternal Covenant with David
14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
In our third Scripture, Romans 15:12 (ESV), the Apostle Paul, indicates the significance for believers today, and for all generations, of the Advent of Christ:
12 And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
We find that in Advent, not just the anticipation of the birth of Christ, and the “Good News” that our Lord brought to humanity: salvation by way of the cross, sanctification through the Holy Spirit, and the hope in the promise of eternal life.
Advent describes the events of the arrival of travelers: a nation of Chosen People, to a Chosen Land, to receive a Chosen or Anointed Saviour. In their travels, the people travel in and out of bondage, to Egypt, the wilderness, and to land that was promised.
We also see the arrival of the Magi or Wise Men, who reveal that Christ’s arrival was also significant to the Gentiles, as well as to the people of Israel.
We see the arrival of shepherds, who come to see the arrival of Jesus, to signify that Christ arrived for the benefit of both, the high and meek, alike.
We see the advent of angels, who are sent to inform Mary and Joseph of the arrival of a child, who is both the son of man and the Son of God. Angels had arrived to announce to the shepherds the arrival of the Christ child. We observe the advent of angels who warned both the Magi, Joseph, and Mary of King Herod’s plot to kill the child, Jesus. And by lighting a candle today, we mark the advent of a star over a manger in Bethlehem, to signify the arrival of the “Light of the World,” that is the advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, the living Christ.
Let us pray…
Closing Music Special:
At this time let us sing a couple of selections from your personal copy of A Classic Christmas Caroling Songbook (Hendrickson Publishers), selections will be accompanied by the corresponding music track from the companion CD: Classic Christmas Carols – 30 Sing-Along Favorites:
#22 O Little Town of Bethlehem – O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Instrumental with Lyrics – verses 1,2,3, and 5 – https://youtu.be/UdGhYxV9vlc
#25 – The First Noel – Christmas Lyric Video – Reawaken Hymns – https://youtu.be/LnN27CB9h9s
Benediction – (Romans 15:13): May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.