Tuesday, November 29, 2016
During the month of December, we will be having some wonderful opportunities to come together as a community and worship in wonder and joy in the Advent and Christmas seasons. Despite what the stores and the television commercials would have you believe, it isn’t Christmas yet. In fact, the Christmas season doesn’t technically begin until December 25th . We are, instead, in the season of Advent.
What is 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.
This year, I am going to be reading specifically from the prophet Isaiah each Sunday in Advent. Isaiah is the prophet for whom many of the promises and dreams of a messiah originate. For the early church, Isaiah was of predominant importance and was, even for Jesus, the one who provided the fundamental description of the messiah (see Luke 4:17-19).
Picking up with the idea from November 13th, where I talked about God’s vision of a new heaven and new earth, we begin our journey into Advent with a vision of God’s dream for the future of humanity. What is it that God would teach us?
In the following weeks, we will continue to hear from Isaiah and some other voices both Old and New. These might not be the usual voices in the season leading up to Christmas, or at least not the primary words we hear. They are, however, important parts of the larger Advent tradition, and provide different and often strikingly different glimpses to a season we might take for granted.
November 27th – Isaiah 2:1-5 “Dream Sweet Dreams”
December 4th - Isaiah 11:1-10 “And All Shall Be Well”
December 11th – Isaiah 35:1-10 “The Future in the Past”
December 18th – Choir Cantata
December 25th - Christmas Day – John 1:1-14 “With You”
Come and be with us as we walk this journey towards Christmas.
Grace and Peace,
- Pastor Charles