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Advent greetings

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

To those in the U.S., happy Thanksgiving! And to everyone, warm Advent greetings!

As you know, this Sunday (November 27) is the first of the four Sundays in the Advent season, which is followed by Christmas (also a Sunday this year). Advent celebrates the coming into our world of the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is traditional to first look forward to Jesus’ coming in glory, then to his present coming through the Holy Spirit, and then back to his original coming in the flesh through his birth at Bethlehem.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

In all our Advent and Christmas celebrations we are reminded that God, in his grace, comes to us. He is the Light come into our darkness. And that Light is true life. We are blessed to be enabled by the Holy Spirit to see and to embrace this Light, to walk in its glow, and to proclaim its glory to others who remain in darkness.

Many Advent and Christmas hymns and carols beautifully remind us of these truths. An example is “O Holy Night.” The lyrics of this Christmas carol were written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure:

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Advent greetings from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach