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Advent Banners Explained

Each week, as we approach the celebration of Christmas, a new panel on our Advent banners will be revealed. These expanding banners build anticipation and are filled with meaningful symbols. Hopefully, this brief guide will deepen our understanding of the progression of this sacred season.

Panel 1

Left side: Here you see a clay vessel filled to overflowing with figs. In 2 Kings 18, we hear the story of how King Hezekiah bravely rebelled against the King of Assyria. And then, the Assyrian commander tried to entice the Israelites to betray Hezekiah with of all things… a fig tree. And of course, in the Gospel of Matthew 11:32-33, “From the fig tree learn its lesson… when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.” As we begin this season of Advent it is wise to consider our commitment to God’s hope for our lives.

Right side: Consistent with the theme present on the opposing panel, the bag of silver coins hearkens back to Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers, and as we know Christ too was betrayed by one of his closest associates for 30 pieces of silver. But alas, our hope remains intact as these betrayals could not stand in the way of God’s promise coming to fruition.

Panel 2: 

Left side: The flames you see in this panel can point to the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness, or even the burning bush, and perhaps these dancing flames may even get us thinking about Pentecost; in each of these moments God is eager to be with, encourage, and empower God’s people. God is certainly sustaining our journey through the Advent season as well.

Right side: In this panel, you see a lion cub nestled close to a lamb. This is a reminder of the important words of prophecy found in Isaiah 11:6. When the Messiah comes, the Lord will usher in a new “peaceable kingdom,” yes, the prophet shares that, “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the lord.” Hopefully, we feel moments of peace and fulfillment in these holy days.

Panel 3: 

Left side: Here we see the “shoot” that will come out of the “stump of Jesse,” as well as the “branch that will grow out of its roots.” Just as the Spirit of the Lord rested upon King David, so too this new Messianic King will also be filled with God’s everlasting “righteousness” and “faithfulness.” -Isaiah 11

Right side: In this panel, we see what looks like a blooming rose, with waves of water just beneath the beautiful flower. The first symbol might cause you to think of that glorious carol, “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming,” which is in part a celebration of Mary’s faithfulness. The ripples on the water hearken back to the rolling waters of the Jordan, where John the Baptist played his critical role in the great narrative of redemption. We too play our part to bring Christ into the world and witness to the lasting power of Christ’s redemptive activity.

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