St. Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church, 1499 S. Main St., will celebrate Advent with a service of Lessons and Carols at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.

The Arts Center Honors Choir and the Arts Center Strings will perform during the service.

In the liturgical Christian church, Advent represents a double focus, a focus on the past and the future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and congregations as they affirm that Christ has come, is present, and that He will come again in power.

The word Advent comes from a Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming.” Advent is also commonly used in reference to the second coming of Christ. For Christians the season of Advent is a reminder both of the original waiting by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting by Christians for Christ's return.

For all liturgical churches including the Roman Catholic, Episcopal Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist faiths, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.

There is much symbology in the colors and decoration of churches at Advent. Churches in Western Christianity utilize the colors purple or blue. Purple is used for hangings around the church, as well as the vestments worn by the clergy. It is the color of penitence and fasting, as well as the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King.

The beginning of Advent also is a time for the hanging of greens, decorating the church with evergreen boughs or trees that symbolize the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus Christ.

An Advent wreath is prominently displayed in the church. It consists of a circular evergreen wreath, with five candles, four around the wreath and one in the center. The circular wreath reminds Christians of God. The green wreath speaks of their hope in God — of newness, renewal, and of eternal life.

The service of Lessons and Carols includes the singing of Christmas carols and the reading of Scripture appropriate to the Advent and Christmas season. The church is decorated with the colors, the greenery and the Advent wreath.

During Advent, St. Margaret’s invites the public to the Lessons and Carols Service at 3 p.m. Sunday, as well as its 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. services on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 25.

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