The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit," begins the four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians.
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward to anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that is promised.
Most churches, including COTHA, will have an advent wreath, holding four candles on the outside and a candle in the center. We will light a new candle each week leading up to Christmas, and on Christmas Eve, light the center candle.
Nov 26, 11:30 • Make Your Advent Wreath
Stay after each of our three services and make your 2023 Advent Wreath while enjoying apple cider and hot chocolate.
This is a beautiful way to prepare you and your family for the Advent season. There will be fresh greenery for building an Advent Wreath as well as clay materials for younger children.
Dec 3 • Advent 1 Hope
The story of Jesus' birth actually began thousands of years before he was born. God promised the people of Israel that he would provide a Messiah (Savior) to save them from their sins. For centuries, the people of Israel waited with great hope for the Messiah to come.
The Candle of Hope
Also known as the “prophecy candle,” this candle assures us we can have hope that God will fulfill the prophecies declared in the Old Testament about Jesus. Hope doesn’t disappoint us (Romans 5:5). The somber purple color on the candle represents repentance and fasting as we anticipate the Lord’s coming. Purple doubles as a color for royalty throughout the Bible, symbolizing God’s kingship and reign.
Dec 3 • Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols
We'll celebrate with our first-ever Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols at our 10:30 a.m. service. Advent Lessons and Carols is an Advent tradition that dates back to the late 19th century. It is a blend of Scripture, prayers, and carols carefully chosen to tie into the themes of this sacred season. The story of salvation will be told through Scripture readings or "lessons," which begin with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and continue through the Annunciation. Advent Lessons and Carols is a prayerful and joyous way to prepare for the celebration of Christmas.
During our Kids Formation at 10:30, our Kindergarten - 5th Grade students will make Gingerbread Mangers. These adorable gingerbread treats not only taste heavenly but also remind us of the Christmas story.
Dec 10 • Advent 2 Peace
Candle of Peace:
Jesus came to be the Prince of Peace. The word peace is the Hebrew word shalom, which means completeness or well-being. Jesus did not come to end wars, but to make us complete by saving us from our sinfulness.
Dec 17 • Advent 3 Joy
Candle of Joy:
Otherwise known as the Shepherd Candle, this third candle of Advent reflects the joy that comes through Jesus’ arrival and through the salvation he has gifted us. Instead of the previous two weeks of purple candles, this week, the candle's color will be pink. The Third Sunday has traditionally been a respite from the penitential themes of Advent, emphasizing instead the joy of the coming of the Lord. Thus many view the pink candle as emphasizing joy.
Dec 24 • Advent 4 Love
Candle of Love:
The fourth Week of Advent is the week of Love. Jesus came because God loves us so much that he doesn't want any of us to miss out on spending eternity (forever) with him.
We will celebrate Advent Four with ONE service at 8:00 a.m. on December 24.
Dec 24 • Christmas Eve
The Christ candle represents Christ and his role in the Christmas story. Jesus brought light into the world through his arrival on earth as a baby. Christ connects all the Advent candles, and through him, we can have hope, peace, joy, and love.
We will celebrate Christmas Eve with three services:
3:00 p.m. • Christmas Eve Family Service with Live Nativity
We invite your family to join us for a service, especially for young children and families. There will be an interactive retelling of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. We will also have a live nativity, so arrive early to see all the animals. No Facebook Live or childcare.
5:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. • Christmas Eve
Our evening services are traditional, with carols, a Christmas sermon, communion, and will conclude with a candle-lit Silent Night. Livestream on Facebook at 5:00 p.m., and childcare at 5:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.