When I was a child, I thought the Christmas season began with Santa riding in at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In stores, it seems, the Christmas season begins as soon as they put away the “Back to School” promotions. Throughout the ages, the church has taught something different. There I learned about the season of Advent, which was something my youthful eagerness for presents wanted to overlook. Advent is a time of preparation for the fullness of Christ in our lives.
Robert Dannals writes this about Advent:
“Advent is an in-between time of year. It is not just between Thanksgiving and Christmas, though that is when it occurs. Advent is all about what was and what is to be, about what already has happened and what has yet to occur. It’s a time of anticipation, of expectancy. To live the Christian journey with expectancy at a most basic level is to be a resident of two worlds. We live fully in the here and now, with all the joys and sorrows, victories and setbacks of incarnate life. We love, laugh, get tired, make mistakes, hurt, rejoice, and grieve in the journey through this wonderful creation and re-creation given us by God. And we live with anticipation in the life to come. . . “
Dannals writes about being “a resident of two worlds,” a resident of what is and of what can be. The hope of the future has always been a source of joy for me throughout whatever I may be experiencing in the now. This is Advent, a reminder that Christ is with us and that Christ is leading us forward into what can be. This is the hope I want to share with others.
You are invited to join me, and our congregation, as we celebrate the joy of Christ in this life and in the beloved community Christ is forming through us this Advent season. Here are some of the highlights.
Sunday, December 9, Invite Your One:
This is the culmination of our month-long effort to follow the example of Jesus, to pray for those not part of our congregation, to invite them to share in worship with us so that they might know and follow Christ. This worship will include the world premiere of a new anthem written by our choir accompanist, Joel Matthys. Whom will you invite? Who will be your one?
Sunday, December 16, Christmas Pageant:
Each year our children tell the story of Christmas, in ways that bring smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. They will do so again this year. Come, experience the Christmas Pageant.
Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve worship:
5 & 9 pm. Traditional carols, the story of the birth of the Christ-child, heartfelt prayer, and the opportunity to experience a re-birth of God with us at Holy Communion.
My prayer for you is that this time of expectancy will help you to open your heart and life to the love of God in Christ Jesus. In this spirit, I hope for you the expectancy of Advent and the light of Christ to brighten your path throughout the new year.