As presented on the First Sunday of Advent, 1996
Prepared for Community Church of Fairfield and Hanover Prebyterian Church
by the Rev. Denzel Nonhof copyright 1997.
The Rev. Denzel Nonhof
HC 3, Box 3580
Shell Knob, Missouri 65747-9114
This material can be used without permission when used in
the local church. No permission is given to reprint any of
this material for profit.
------- preparation ------
AN ADVENT MOBILE: Needed
1)A mobile with a Star of David, a descending Dove, an
Alpha and Omega, an Angel with a Trumpet, and the Babe in a
2)Before the service, someone needs to hand the mobile
securely from the ceiling in the Sanctuary.
THE MEANING OF ADVENT: Needed
1)Wreath holder already in place in front of the sanctuary.
2)Basket to hold items.
3)One Advent Wreath.
2)Three Purple candles.
3)One Rose candles.
4)One White Christ candle.
5)Holly, mistletoe, etc. for the decoration of the wreath.
PLACING OF THE EVERGREENS: Needed
1)Two people to put evergreen in the windows.
2)Two people to hold the basket for the two who are placing
4)Enough evergreens for the windows and around the Bible in
front of the sanctuary.
5)Tie bows and ornaments for accents in the greenery.
THE LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Needed
1)Christmas tree assembled ahead of time, with lights, star
2)Gold or white tree skirt already in place.
4)One person to help people down the stairs, (if needed)
5)One person to hand people an ornament.
6)One person to stand near the tree to provide assistance
to smaller children to hand ornaments on the tree, or help
place ornaments on the higher branches.
THE LEGEND OF THE POINSETTIA: Needed
1)Poinsettias in red and white, foiled in gold, about 25
in all. These will be stored in a cool place until they are
placed in the sanctuary.
2)Members of the Sunday School classes to assist in
placing the poinsettias throughout the sanctuary.
3)Plastic plant holders with red or white dots so the
"placers" can locate the correct color and location to place
their poinsettia. These plastic holders must be in place
the day before. There should be enough poinsettias to be
impressive and they are purchased by the congregation and
the memorials are printed in the bulletin. After the
"placers" have positioned all the poinsettias, the people
should return to their seats.
SAINT NICHOLAS: Needed:
(omitted in 96, but included in the Appendix for future years)
1)One man dressed in an old robe and stocking-style hat.
2)One small boy to walk around with Saint Nicholas.
3)Burlap bag with potatoes and boxes of raisins to be
4)An old robe and stocking hat for Saint Nicholas to wear.
THE SCRIPTURES: Needed
1)Sculpted Nativity set.
2)Blue, green, white, or gold cloth draped in front of the
Bible. Greenery and poinsettias will already be in place.
CANDLE LIGHTING: Needed
1)Two children to be the candle lighters, and two
teenagers or women to lift the hurricane candle glasses to
light the candles. It would be a good idea if the two
assistants have a lighter in case the acolytes forget and
extinguish their candle lighters.
2)One person to turn up the lights when each hymn begins.
CANDY CANES: Needed
1)Candy canes in sufficient quantity that everyone who
attends worship can have one to take home.
2)Baskets to put the candy canes into.
3)Two people to distribute candy canes at the door of the
----- Service -----
THE MEANING OF ADVENT
By the prophet Isaiah it stands written:
"Here is my herald whom I send and he
will prepare your way."
Prepare the way. Prepare the heart and mind. Let everyone
stand silent. Let the stars and moon cease to move. Let
the leaves of the trees and the tall browning grass cease to
rustle in the wind. With expectant hush, and long awaiting
yearning, we herald the coming of the long awaited Christ
Child, the coming of the infant to Bethlehem.
Advent. A Latin word for "Coming." Prepare the way.
Prepare the heart to receive. Prepare the way. The Christ
Let us prepare for the advent, the coming of the Christ
Child. On this first Sunday of Advent, this first of four
Sabbaths, let us prepare with repentance. Let us prepare
with hope. Let us prepare with faith. For the light will
come into this world, as God has promised.
The Christ Child will come into the Bethlehem stable. The
Christ Child will come into the world, into every life that
waits, and into every hopeful heart. The Messiah comes to
bring the Christmas to every waiting believer. Let us now
prepare to receive Him.
Let us now begin our service of preparation. Come let us
begin - our expectant waiting, for Christ, the Messiah. We
acknowledge the prophesies and celebrate the coming with
renewal of traditions, with remembered worship, with
There are many symbols of waiting, of preparation. There
are many practiced customs to hail the Advent, the Coming.
Foremost among the symbols is the Wreath of Coming. The
circle of the Wreath has no end. A wreath is like the
Eternal with no end and no beginning.
A circle of evergreen, a circle of meaning, a symbol of that
which is as eternal as God, as victorious as the coming
Christ, and as everlasting as the promises.
The Advent Wreath is a symbol of hope, a symbol of four
Sabbaths, four Sabbaths of waiting.
Four candles light the wreath. Three are purple. Each
purple candle is a symbol of waiting; repentant waiting, a
symbol of our preparation, longing, and waiting. One for
each of three Sabbaths of repentant preparation.
On the third Sunday of Advent, the rose candle is set aglow
to symbolize hope; deep longing, fervent expecting hope
rooted in promises made long ago.
The center candle is white. Pure symbolic white. Lighted
when the Christ is come.
The wreath is made with carefully chosen materials, each a
symbol of the Christ. Palm leaves symbolize the Peace he
extolled. Palms for the Prince of Peace. Holly is used to
symbolize the crucified Christ. Legend tells us holly was
used to fashion the crown of thorns for the head of the
crucified Christ. Legend has it that the berries were
yellow until stained red by His blood.
Mistletoe symbolizes Christ the everlasting. Ancient Druids
noted when all other trees were bare, Mistletoe was green.
Thus it came to be in Christian legend a symbol of eternity;
Christ the Everlasting, Christ the Eternal.
So in the wreath, we symbolized the coming of Christ, the
Victorious Christ, the Prince of Peace; Christ, the Eternal;
Christ, the Revelation of God.
Let us Prepare for His coming.
PLEASE STAND and sing the first verse of our Advent Hymn:
"Oh Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel." 123/542
THE NATIVITY MOBILE (this could also be a series of banners
hung during Advent)
STAR OF DAVID
At the top of the mobile is the Star of David.
God is acknowledged to be the Creator of all stars, planets,
and constellations. As well as knowing their names and
numbers, Biblical writers knew many of the constellations.
The Lord asked Job, "Can you bind the chains of Pleiades, or
loose the cords of Orion?"
Individual stars are mentioned. Probably the most famous
and intriguing of all the stars mentioned in Scripture is
the star of Bethlehem, told of in Matthew 2. Many theories
have been posited regarding its identity. Scripture does
not name the star. It is one of many miracles that attest
to the power of our God and is similar to the pillar of fire
used to demonstrate God's presence and might to the children
of Israel as they made their way to the land of Canaan. In
the final book of the Bible the Lord Jesus is called "the
bright and morning star."
The star we have is a six-pointed star, commonly called the
star of David. God promised David that his throne should
stand forever. In Jesus Christ, God fulfills this promise.
Let us ever remember that Jesus was Jewish. Jesus was born
a Jew to fulfill the law in perfect obedience.
The term "dove" is applied rather loosely to many smaller
species of pigeon. The first mention of the dove in the
Bible occurs in Genesis 8:8- 12. Noah released a dove from
the ark to determine if the flood waters had subsided from
All four Gospels describe the Spirit of God descending like
a dove upon Jesus after His baptism. This familiar bird
with all its rich associations was chosen to symbolize God's
The term "turtledove" also is applied to any of the smaller
varieties of pigeon. The turtledove played a significant
sacrificial role in the Bible. For those who could not
afford a lamb, the law prescribed that two turtle-doves or
pigeons be offered for the sacrifice of purification after
childbearing. Mary brought such an offering after the birth
The dove in the mobile is placed there to remind us of the
work of the Holy Spirit of God. It was by the Spirit that
Mary became pregnant. The Spirit came upon Jesus at his
baptism and by the Spirit of God, Jesus could do miracles.
This Spirit, God and Jesus Christ gives to those who believe
in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are Christians only because we
are anointed with the Spirit of the Lord.
ALPHA AND OMEGA
The ALPHA AND OMEGA are the first and last letters of the
Greek alphabet and are used in Revelation to describe God or
Christ. The Alpha looks like our letter "A," while the
Omega has the appearance of a horseshoe on end. "Alpha and
Omega" refers to God's sovereignty and eternal nature. God
and Christ are "the beginning and the end, the first and
last." Thus, they control all history and all humans of all
He who is beyond all time entered time. At Christmas it is
appropriate to remember that Jesus came to give us eternal
life. This is symbolized by the holly which is green and
has berries of red. Life eternal is symbolized by the
green, and the red berries remind us of how he gave his life
on the cross for our salvation.
The term "angel" is derived from the Greek word angelos
which means "messenger." Angelos and the Hebrew equivalent,
malak (which also means "messenger"), are the two most
common terms used to describe this class of beings in the
Bible. In general, in texts where an angel appears, the
task of the angel is to convey the message or do the will of
the God who sent him. Since the focus of the text is on the
message, the messenger is rarely described in detail.
The angel's function as messenger or agent of God is acted
out in proclamation, revealing the will of God and/or
announcing key events. An angel announced to Joseph that
Mary would have a child. Mary received a special messenger
who told her that she would have a son and name him Jesus
because he would save the people from their sins. At the
end of time, the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and the
dead in Christ shall rise first.
Allow God to use this mobile to remind you we await the
coming of the angels of the Lord. They who sang glory to
God in this highest when Jesus was born, shall also escort
us into heaven.
THE BABE IN THE MANGER
A Manger is a feeding trough used for cattle, sheep,
donkeys, or horses. Archaeologists have discovered stone
mangers in the horse stables of Ahab at Megiddo. They were
cut out of limestone and were approximately three feet long,
eighteen inches wide, and two feet deep. Other ancient
mangers were made of masonry. Many Palestinian homes
consisted of one large room which contained an elevated
section and a lower section. The elevated section was the
family's living quarters, while the lower section housed the
family's animals. Usually a manger, in the form of a
masonry box or a stone niche, was located in the lower
section. Mangers were also put in cave stables or other
stalls. The manger referred to in Luke 2:16 may have been
in a cave stable or other shelter. There Jesus was laid to
sleep after his birth.
What wondrous love is this that God should come to live
among us, to be born as a human being, to experience all
which we have experienced? What wondrous love is this which
came down from heaven? This love of God in Jesus Christ is
unique in all the worlds, and when we celebrate the birthday
of Jesus, the love of God comes into us in a unique and
SPECIAL MUSIC: What Wondrous Love Is This #177
PLACING THE EVERGREENS
When all the earth is brown, when the leaves have departed
the trees; Evergreens stand in lonely vigil until the earth
again is green.
Evergreens shout to us about the hoped for coming of green
again. Evergreens stand ever ready to remind us of joyous
hope. The joyous reality of the eternal presence of the
Christ Child; the eternal presence in all the world.
Legend tells us that long ago, the evergreens were not
forever colored with verdant leaves. Before the birth of
the Eternal One, before the coming, the evergreen was bare
like other trees around.
Let us begin this legend with the recorded event written in
Scripture and recorded by Matthew. The Gospel writer says,
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
And the angel said to him: "Rise up and take the Infant
Jesus and his mother and escape with them to Egypt. Stay in
Egypt until I bid you return. You are no longer safe. Go,
for Herod sends his soldiers to seek out the Child and
destroy Him." So Mary and Joseph and their Infant Child
left the warmth and security of their land and journeyed
Hastily, they gathered their meager belongings. Into the
dark of night they stole away. Escape, they must, the
jealous wrath of Herod and his men. Escape, they must, from
the death decree handed down by Herod.
No word could be said of their hasty departure; no notice of
a planned destination. Friends and family could not know of
their going, lest they too come under the decree of death.
Over rocky hills and dusty roads, they traveled wearily;
Mary and the Infant on the back of a donkey; Joseph, alert
and watchful, walking beside them.
With heavy saddened hearts and fearful weary bodies, they
made their way all night long and into the following long
Mid-afternoon, dust in the distance behind them came. Fast
riding soldiers came, soldiers sent from Herod, sent to
carry out Herod's dreadful mission.
Where could they hide? Where could the Holy Family find
protection? The hillside was barren, offering no shield.
Quickly, a frightened Joseph guided Mary and her child into
a clump of cedars on a hill. Immediately, the bare cedar
twigs greened with color, thickened with growth to shield
the Holy Family.
The white berries of the cedar tree turned to sapphire blue
to match the robe that Mary wore that day. So Mary, mother
of Jesus in a robe of sapphire blue could blend with cedar
trees, and go unnoticed by passing, hunting soldiers.
Past the Holy family, went the band of Herod's men; never
seeing, never knowing Mary, Joseph, and Infant Jesus were
safely sheltered in a clump of green cedars with berries of
Since that day, cedars and plants like them have never shed
their leaves; never lost their green; for they sheltered the
Holy Family. Forever green, to honor the day they received
the Infant Christ Child.
Evergreen, everlasting, eternal, green branches are a part
of our preparation, our waiting: a symbol of hope, a symbol
of eternity, a reminder of love received. Evergreen is a
symbol of the eternal promise of renewal, a symbol of the
eternal and everlasting God.
STAND WITH ME to sing the first and third verses of our
hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing. 133/537
THE LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE
During this reading, we invite you to come forward and place
an ornament on our Christmas Tree.
The Christmas Tree is widely used in our celebration of
Green trees, blue trees, frosty snow-covered trees, inside a
warm room. Lighted trees, living trees, all are trees of
Our use of Christmas trees is so widespread, we have
forgotten the beginning. Hear the legend of the first
Seven hundred years after the birth of Christ, Pope Gregory
wanted to send a Christian missionary to the pagan tribes of
Northern Germany. He called on Winfred of England (later
known as Saint Boniface) to go to Germany for a three-year
period to teach Christian ways to the pagan tribes who lived
there. One day, as Winfred was traveling among the people
there, he came upon a gathering for a pagan ceremony in the
forest. With the ritual about to take place, the spirit of
the forest was being worshiped with a human sacrifice. The
usual ceremony involved the blood of an innocent child
sprinkled around an oak tree to please the god of the
forest. Winfred begged that the ceremony be stopped, but
his words were ignored. In a desperate act to stop the
ritual, Winfred grabbed the ceremonial ax and cut down the
oak tree. The people were furious, but their anger turned
to amazement as they saw a small fir tree spring up to
replace the fallen oak.
A shaft of light caused each twig on the fir tree to glisten
and the people listened and believed when Winfred told them
the tree was a symbol of the birth of life through Christ.
Thus, began the custom among German people of using a fir
tree as a symbol to acknowledge the birth of Christ.
It was another seven hundred years before Martin Luther put
lighted candles on his tree to recapture the glistening
twigs of the tree in the forest which Winfred had seen. He
also topped his tree with a star to commemorate that star
which was in the Bethlehem sky as recorded in scriptures:
"Behold, there came wise-men from the East to
Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He that is born King of the
Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and we have
come to worship Him.'"
Green trees, blue trees, frosty snow-covered trees, lighted
trees, living trees; all are trees of Christmas.
THE LEGEND OF THE POINSETTIA
In the past two hundred years, a new element has found its
place in our Christmas celebration. It is from the
Christian practices and symbols in Mexico that we have
adopted this tradition.
In the very early part of the 19th century, an American who
served the United States as an ambassador, spent a tour of
duty in Mexico. He admired the dramatic beauty of the
bright red poinsettia that grew rooftop high and bloomed
profusely at Christmas. He was awed when Mexican Christians
told him why the bright red poinsettias were a part of their
celebration of the birth and life of Christ.
In Mexico, the story goes like this: The Bethlehem star
shone over the manger where Jesus was born. Its light so
bright the earth responded, reflecting that star light,
receiving that star light, mirroring that star light with a
beautiful flower. Star shaped, radiant shaped, pure white
petals, golden star centers. In Mexican lore, it was always
the Flower of the Holy Night.
It grew on earth as a creation to glorify and commemorate
that Holy Night "For the stars shout forth the glory of
God." Then came the tragic day when Jesus dies on the cross
and the blossoms changed. Pure white petals remembered the
sacrifice of the Christ born when the star was over
Flower of the Holy Night, star shaped, radiant shaped, blood
red petals, star flowers for the Holy Night. Now,
everywhere, on cards and on trees, in churches and in our
homes, the poinsettia takes its place; reminding us of a
Holy Night, pointing to a Good Friday.
(The Section for Santa Claus can be inserted here.
THE SCRIPTURES (ADAPTED FROM LUKE AND JOHN)
In the beginning was the Word.
In the very beginning was only the Word and the Word became
the presence of God and came to live among the people of the
earth. Hear the story of the birth of the Word - made
living flesh as it has been told by those who followed the
The coming of the Messiah had long been prophesied. And
there were many who longed for His coming.
For the people of God were oppressed and the land was
troubled with hunger and slavery and cruelty and oppression.
And fear hovered over God's people.
Emperor Augustus ruled the Roman Empire with a cruel hand
and Quirinius, the governor of Syria, was a tool of the
More taxes were needed, more taxes to support the Roman
So the decree went out that a new census would be taken, and
everyone must go back to his birthplace to be counted for
tax purposes. For this purpose, everyone made his way to
his own town. So Joseph went up to Judea from the town of
Nazareth in Galilee, to be registered at the city of David,
called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David by
And with him went Mary who was betrothed to him. She was
expecting a child.
And while they were there, the time came for her child to be
born, and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She
wrapped him 'round, and laid him in a manger, because there
was no room for them to lodge in the inn. No room for a
child in the inn.
Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the
field - keeping watch through the night over their flock.
When suddenly there stood before them an angel of the Lord -
and the splendor of the Lord shone 'round them. They were
struck with terror!
But the angel said, "Do not be afraid. I have good news for
you. There is great joy coming to the whole people. Today,
in the city of David, a deliverer has been born to you; the
Messiah, the Lord. And this is your sign; you will find a
baby lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling."
All at once, there was with the angel, a great multitude of
angels singing the praises of God.
"Glory to God on high - and on earth, His peace and good
will to all people!"
After the angels had left them and gone into the heaven -
the shepherds said to one another, "Come, we must go
straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has made known to us."
So they went with all speed, they found their way to Mary
and Joseph, . . . and the baby lying in a manger. When they
saw him, they recounted what they had been told about this
child. And all who heard were astonished at what the
shepherds said. But, Mary treasured up all these things and
Ponder we also over the birth of Jesus, For the Bread of
Life is the Word- Made-Flesh. Born again is the nurture of
life, the Bread upon which all may feast.
WE STAND NOW to sing the first and second verses of
Silent Night, Holy Night! 147/530
LIGHTING THE CANDLES
The birth of Jesus and the life He lived brought many
changes to the world. The life He lived, the truths He
taught, the example He gave, the love He generated; His
life, His teachings, His truth. These are the guide posts
We symbolize these truths, by the use of two candles. One
candle to symbolize the life He lived; the example he gave,
the wholeness of His life, words, and deeds. One candle, a
constant symbol of the human life Jesus lived. The flame
reminds us of his teachings, the truths He shared, the
Parables He told, the Wisdom he gave. One candle reminds us
of the man, Jesus.
The other candle reminds us that Jesus is the second person
of the Trinity. He was with the Father in the Beginning.
He is Very God of Very God. He is the Way, the Truth, and
the Life. Jesus came from God, dwelt among human beings,
giving his life for the sins of the world, to be resurrected
on the third day. Jesus ascended into heaven and sits at
the right hand of God the Father. The second candle reminds
us that Jesus is God.
These two candles stand as symbols of Jesus the Christ,
whose coming brought hope to human kind in the life and
teachings of Jesus. He brought hope to the world. As these
candles give their light for others to see, may we bear the
light of Christ to others. As light comes from Christ and
so travels throughout the world, so light is taken from the
candles which always remind us of Jesus, son of Mary and son
of God. We carry the light, that others may bear the light.
Amen! Jesus, light of the world. Jesus, the truth of the
world. Jesus, the life in the world. Jesus, the light of
STAND TO SING our hymn of Gladness: "Joy to the World"
THE STORY OF THE CANDY CANE
A CANDYMAKER'S WITNESS
A Candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that
would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He
incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and
death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White
symbolizes the Virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus,
and hardness symbolizes the Solid Rock, the foundation of
the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.
The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to
represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as
our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good
Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the
world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the
candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small
stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received
by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the
blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the
promise of eternal life.
Unfortunately, the candy became known as a Candy Cane
a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the
meaning is still there for those who "have eyes to see and
ears to hear." I pray that this symbol will again be used
to witness To The Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that
came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant
force in the universe today.
end see below for appendix --- end
AN APPENDIX FOR SAINT NICHOLAS: This may be included after
the Poinsettia Section, but another section or two sections
must be omitted to make room for it.
For many Americans, Christmas is Santa Clause, that jolly
old elf. But, Is Christmas, Santa Claus? Does Santa Claus
He has many names: Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father
Christmas, St. Nick, Saint Nicholas.
Once upon a time, there was a real Saint Nicholas. Saint
Nicholas, the most human of the early Saints. Saint
Nicholas, remote, elusive, mystical, reflecting the hopes
and needs of people since earliest time.
Born in the area where Jesus was born, Nicholas became
bishop of Myra while still a young man. The stories of his
deeds are factual from records of the fourth and fifth
He calmed a stormy sea and became the patron saint of
sailors. He saved three boys from death and became the
patron saint of children. He gave a dowry to three young
women and became the patron said of the poor.
He convinced the captain of three grain ships to give part
of their cargo to the poor. They gave and gave to feed the
hungry, but their ships remained full. He became the patron
saint of the hungry.
He became the symbol of giving. Giving to those in need,
sharing with others, a symbol of human longing and
fulfillment of human need.
The tradition of giving and sharing was kept alive by those
who remembered Saint Nicholas. From father to son, from
sailor to shopkeeper, from priest to alter boy, the story
Then - Santa Claus is real. He's not just American, created
by Madison Avenue, packaged and marketed along with
Santa Claus, as we know him, was revived in Holland in 1508,
on December 6, the anniversary of the birth of Saint
Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. The Dutch were at war with Spain;
fighting a long hard war for their independence. The
Spanish blocked their seaports and destroyed their fields.
The people were hungry, the people were starving, a terrible
famine was over the land.
Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Spain, came to Holland on a boat.
Leavening his boat at the dock, he rode over the countryside
on a white horse, directing his Moorish servants to give
potatoes to the people. He gave potatoes to the starving
Dutch. He gave figs and raisins to the children.
In the Dutch language, Saint Nicholas is Sinterklass
(pronounced, "Center- Claws") Each year since that day,
December 6 is Sinterklass Day; a day for giving, to meet all
human needs. A day when Sinterklass comes again on a boat
from Spain; and rides his white horse to every home with
embellished potatoes and gifts, simple, but rich in
symbolism. Dutch settlers came to our shore. With them
came Sinterklass, who has grown with the years.
Changing with the years, Santa Claus now comes with
reindeer. Santa Claus, of the North Pole; Santa Claus, a
secular elf, a jovial, jolly, St. Nick. But the symbols of
giving, giving to the needy, giving of self where there is
want is the true meaning of Santa Claus.
Saint Nicholas, from Myra, to Spain, to Holland, to America,
every Christmas for seventeen hundred years. The spirit of
Saint Nicholas lives when we give, give of ourselves, giving
to meet to the needs of other.
copyright - Rev. Denzel Nonhof copyright © 1997 - 2006.
- Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1997 - 2006
use only with proper acknowledgement
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