Angels Among Us

We often refer to the season of Advent as a season of “waiting,” of waiting for the ever-present God to be born anew within us, of waiting for the transformation of the world as it is into what it will become as the beloved community of God. This “waiting” in Advent is not a passive waiting, as if God doesn’t need us in order to make the world a better place for all people. It is an active call to being and growing. As we wait, we hear the messages of angels.

The angels that appear in the story of Jesus’ birth would have been very comfortable in our world of tweets and hashtags. Their messages were often short and to the point – their favorite line being #DoNotBeAfraid. During worship this Advent, we will look at the stories of these winged messengers to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds and their reactions to them.

These messengers bring news, yes. But they also invite their first hearers, and us, to participate in the story. The message is “God is doing thus-and-such and you are part of it.” Get over your fear because God needs you. We will contemplate what messages we can offer that will counteract a culture of fear and bring #MoreHope, #MorePeace, #MoreJoy, #MoreLove, and #MoreLife all around.

The message I’m hearing loud and clear is that God is up to something at E&R, not just for ourselves, but for the world God is creating. This Advent, I invite you into a time of active waiting, listening for God’s direction and then doing something to join in God’s mission. Taking time to listen in this, often, busy season is tough. I know that some of us are taking time to sit and read a chapter of the Gospel of Luke each

day so that by Christmas Eve we will have marinated in the life of Jesus before we celebrate his birth. Some will participate in the Reverse Advent Wreath, taking time to think of others as we shop, along with Sunday school. Whatever your plan, I do encourage you to have a plan, take time for worship. I invite you to join us on Sunday, at 9 AM:

Sunday, December 1, Make Ready a People: #MoreHope – Have you ever had a moment in your life after which you knew nothing would ever be the same? During times of change, hope is always a welcome thing.

Sunday, December 8, Nothing is Impossible: #MorePeace – Do you find yourself yearning for more peace in your life and relationships? #MorePeace in the world happens when all of us feel #MorePeace within ourselves and live out that message each day.

Sunday, December 15, Do Not Be Afraid: #MoreJoy – Worship this morning will include the Children’s Christmas Pageant.

Sunday, December 22, This Will Be a Sign: #MoreLove – Have you ever looked for a sign, some sort of confirmation from God about the journey ahead? Sometimes those signs are where you least expect them.

And again, on Christmas Eve:

Tuesday, December 24, at 5 and 9 PM, Emmanuel: #MoreLife – The songs of angels break through on this silent night, bringing us #MoreHope, #MorePeace, #MoreJoy, and #MoreLove as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

I pray this season of waiting will bring you to a place of renewed hope, peace, joy, and love in your life, as we celebrate the life of Christ in the stable long ago, in our hearts today, and throughout all our lives.

Merry Christmas!