This week is the fourth and final week of Advent, a period which is rarely a full week in length. Christmas can come as soon as the day after the Fourth Sunday in Advent, or as late as the next Sunday, however in 2013 the “fourth week” amounts to only three days.
The uncertain and shortened length of the final week of Advent is why special Advent Scripture readings are often read during for these last few days leading up to the evening of December 24. Important anticipation prophecies from the book of Isaiah are among the most popular scriptures proclaimed in many churches at this time to bring the period of waiting to a moving “crescendo” as Christmas itself finally arrives.
Perhaps one of the most well-known of these many passages is Isaiah 7: 14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” This passage, as well as many others, serve as a pointed reminder of what is about to happen as Christmas arrives and the stories of Jesus Christ’s birth are recounted on that special day all over the world.