In the fall and winter seasons, we watch the flowers and vegetation vanish as the leaves fall. When cold weather arrives, we repeat English poet Percy Shelley’s question, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” We have confidence by faith and experience that spring will return.

Even with this understanding, we are aware of human responsibilities. We plant seeds and nurture roots. In general, we take care of the earth as we should any gift. The roots that stay alive in the cold weather will produce in the warm seasons. It is also true that our personal and religious roots must be nurtured. As people of faith, we have studied the history of our religious roots. Many faiths were planted centuries ago, and many faithful people have struggled and suffered to sustain their religions. Christians know the price paid for us by Jesus and by the first-century followers and many other faithful people through the generations.

Each person must think about and plan to fulfill obligations to make religions healthy and places of worship viable and safe. With some faiths and denominations dwindling and some places of worship closing or under attack, action is needed. For all individuals, staying spiritually healthy is important.

In times of religious reflection, the faithful turn to their sacred text. Christians think about their roots by reading the passages in the Bible. The Old Testament predicts the coming of a Messiah. Most Christians believe that these prophecies were written about Jesus. Christians trace the Old Testament prophesies of the coming Messiah and reread the stories about the birth of Jesus in the New Testament.

Sunday, Dec. 1, was the beginning of Advent. The word advent means coming. We know that around the fourth century, advent was a time of celebration and preparation. The preparation during these early times included the second coming of Jesus. Today, the celebration is centered on the anticipation and birth of Jesus with discussions and prayers for the second coming.

On four Sundays, churches will light and display candles. Three candles are purple, a liturgical color, which represents penance, prayer and sacrifice. The third candle is pink, standing for the joy of the birth of Jesus. The candles represent hope, love, joy and peace. As we celebrate our blessings in places of worship, may we share hope, love, joy and peace with all people. Even though it is a busy season, the time is right to share our blessings with those who have needs. May we fill our hearts and rejoice for the coming of the most significant blessing, the birth of the Christ child.

Q: What does the word “kairos” mean?

Answer: The dictionary definitions include “a propitious moment for decision or action” and “a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved.”

The term can be applied for historical and personal events, physical skills, requests and decisions because “the time is right.” When it is related to Christian beliefs, Mark 1:15 is an example: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

Another example is the birth of Christ, which Christians celebrate with great anticipation in the weeks of Advent. God had determined that the time had arrived for the Son of God to be born and to inform Mary about her destiny. The angel said: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the highest.” Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” The angel responded, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the son of God.”

The angel assisted Mary by explaining to Joseph her destiny in Matthew 1:20-21: “Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” — Luke 1:37

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Earl Crow’s column is published Saturdays in the Winston-Salem Journal. Email him at ecrow1@triad.rr.com.

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