Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Despite what the stores and the television commercials would have you believe, it isn't Christmas yet. In fact, the Christmas season doesn't begin until December 25th. We are, instead, in the season of Advent.
Advent is something of an unusual time. On the one hand it is the time of preparation for Christmas and the stories of the nativity, Joseph, Mary, Jesus’ birth and so forth. On the other hand, Advent is a time of reflection and hope for the second Advent, or the second coming of Christ. In that respect it is a time of not merely remembering Christmas, but looking forward in hope for the fully realized Kingdom of God.
In the middle of those two understandings of Advent, there is the tension of seeking to encounter the present reality of Christ. In other words, we continue to seek the presence of Christ in our own lives, not merely looking back at what was and hoping for the future. Advent is when we stop to reflect on the reality of the unfolding Advent of Christ in our own lives.
Since Advent is such a tremendously important time in the life of the Church, I hope that you will take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to ‘drink in’ the season to its fullest.
Over the next four weeks, we will be exploring and encountering Advent through words and music. This morning, I wish to offer a challenge to us as to how we think about this time of year and what it could mean (vs. what it seems to have come to mean).
The next two Sundays, I want us to listen closer to the stories of Joseph and Mary. We often assume we know them – their stories are short in the Gospel narratives, and we think we have it down pat in our minds. But there is always more information available should we seek it out.
Then, on the fourth Sunday, we will be blessed to hear and watch a recounting of the Christmas story in a pageant put together by our own J.C. Smith.
Also on that Sunday, we will be having a special service, “The Longest Night,” which is not a traditional service of worship, but is designed to be a service for those who find this season a very difficult time emotionally.
Finally, on Christmas Eve, we will be holding our Christmas Eve Communion and Candle Light service at 6:30 pm.
Advent is a tremendous time in the life of the church. It is full of joy, expectation, and life. It is also a time to reflect and remember that the reason we even gather at all on Sunday is because of the story that begins today.
Come and be a part of the life of the church, and let the church be a part of your life.