The season of Advent is intended to be a season of waiting and wonder … preparing heart and home, church and world, individuals and community, for the radical transformation of a messiah born anew.
In the realities of our world, though, those weeks of December, leading to the Nativity, we somehow blend it all together: it’s ALL “Christmas”. If we skip over Advent and see it only as the time we have to get through before we can get to ‘the point’, then we’ve missed that point entirely! If we focus only on the final destination and close our eyes to the joy of the journey, what good is the Good News?!
What if we take a look ‘behind the scenes’? What have we missed along the way; who might give us new perspective? What if we slowed our pace to really appreciate a season of slow steps through Advent, actually waiting for our Savior, so that AT Christmas, we can sing and proclaim that Jesus Christ Is Born!
December 1 : HOPE … in the unexpected
Matthew 1: 1 – 17
theme verse : An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Mt1:1)
It’s a text that we skip quite often because it’s hard to read, but it’s here that we see just what it meant for the Divine to take on Human form. It took generations. It took men and women, of deep faithfulness and flawed personality. And it takes us. HOPE is the first step of the Advent season; it is exactly where we come to expect the unexpected.
December 8 : PEACE … with who we are
Matthew 1: 18 – 25
theme verse : But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream … (Mt1:20)
It would have been so easy, perhaps even reasonable and likely, for Joseph to give a ‘hard pass’ to the massive assignment he’d just been handed. But he heard a word from the Lord. He not only heard, but listened. And when others would have stepped away, he stepped into history. Joseph made peace with who God needed him to be. Will we?
December 15 : JOY … in showing the way
Matthew 11: 2 – 10
theme verse : ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ (Mt11:3)
We jump to story decades later, in Jesus’ adult life and ministry. It seems out of place in the Advent/Nativity theme, but it shows so clearly what Jesus showed us best: That we point always outward, always to God, with all we are and all we can be. That’s where we find joy, purpose, wisdom, and wonder.
December 22 : LOVE … is what faith sounds like
It’s a favorite every year. Musicians at both services pull out all the stops and spirits soar with the sounds of faith, hope, peace, joy, and the love of God made real in the world. Music captures the spirit of the season unlike anything else. Our church is blessed with incredibly talented and passionate musicians. Love is truly what faith sounds like.
Christmas in Tune VI (9:00am, The Rising Worship)
Rejoice Emmanuel (11:00am, Traditional Worship; 7:00pm, concert arrangement)
December 24 : Afraid Not
Luke 2: 1 – 20
theme verse : But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…’ (Lk2:10)
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Where would go, who would you meet, what would you try, how would you behave? If someone came to you and said ‘You don’t have to be afraid’ and it WORKED, what would that mean? Come hear familiar words, light a candle, sing the song you’ve known forever … and see what might happen.