"Christ is coming!" That is the message of Advent, which begins Sunday, Dec. 2 this year and is celebrated annually at Central Presbyterian Church, joins with believers around the world who prepare themselves for Christ’s coming and watch with urgent hope for his return.

What is Advent? It means “coming” or “arrival.” Historically, it was patterned after Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter.

Worship during Advent is marked by urgent expectancy as the believing community takes a biblical journey that leads to a joyous arrival at the manger. Along the way, the people of God prayerfully consider how they will prepare for the inauguration of a king whose reign brings peace, joy, love and hope to our world.

The familiar patterns of worship change during the traditional Advent season at CPC. Here is some of what you will see: Each Sunday, candles in the Advent wreath are lit, and the sights in the sanctuary and words of the hymns focus on the promise of Christmas. The liturgical color – seen at the pulpit, Communion Table and in clergy vestments – changes from the green of “ordinary time” to purple.

Meanwhile, the first two weekends of December provide an opportunity to take a step back in time and walk the streets of ancient Bethlehem at Bethlehem Revisited, open from 6 to 9 p.m. Bethlehem Revisited recreates Bethlehem as Mary and Joseph might have experienced it on the night of Jesus’ birth. The CPC sanctuary is open during this time, and the chapel is available for prayer.

At worship on Sunday, Dec. 2, children will process in with poinsettias and hand Chrismons on the tree. The Lord’s Supper will be served. The communion table at CPC is open: Anyone who claims Jesus as Lord is welcome to receive the sacrament at our historic Church.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, worship will include a presentation of the children’s program, “The Nativity.” At 4 p.m., a service of “Lessons and Carols” will be presented by Randy Arey and Tena Hehn, organist and pianist, as well as readings by Rev. Tom Tickner in the CPC sanctuary. All are welcome!

The season will culminate with a traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7 p.m. on Dec. 24. The Christmas Eve service begins with carols as the believing community gathers for worship. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated, and the service closes with the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight.