Welcome to our special December and January edition of our church newsletter. I appreciate the flexibility our leadership has shown by submitting two months of church news to the office. Hopefully, we will all benefit from this approach as we get closer to Christmas. As you can see, there is so much ministry happening in December that putting a newsletter together in the middle of the month just adds to the stress of the holiday season. After all, we are preparing for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
The church has traditionally used the four Sundays leading up to Christmas as a time to spiritually get ready for the coming of Christ. This season of preparation and waiting is called Advent. But what are we really waiting for? My Advent sermon series this year tries to answer that question.
On the First Sunday in Advent (December 3rd), we will examine a text where the prophet Isaiah expresses a sentiment that most of us do when looking at a world filled with so much evil. “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence!” (Isaiah 64:1-2). We desire for God to correct the wrongs in our world. We are a people who are “Waiting for God to Act.”
Just as Isaiah voices the peoples’ desire for God to act, Peter in his second epistle expressed a frustration that Christ was taking too long to return. Peter had to remind the church that God is patient. God wants everyone to repent and live a holy life. God will make things new. On December 10th we will meditate on the fact that we are “Waiting for Righteousness.”
We are still a people who wait for God to act. What were the people of Christ’s time waiting for? How does that align with our desires? On the third and fourth Sundays in Advent we will look at the second half of Luke 2. These are the stories of two people who greet Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus at the temple. On December 17th, we will consider how Simeon had been “Waiting for Consolation” and found it in the Christ child. During our morning services on Christmas Eve, we will contemplate Anna, who had been “Waiting for Redemption.”
The waiting of the Advent season brings us to what we have truly been waiting, the arrival of Jesus. We will celebrate the birth of our Savior during our family service at 4:30 PM and our Carols and Candlelight service at 7:30 PM. Please note that we will not be having a later service this year.
It is my prayer that you will find meaning in our time of waiting. I also pray that you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed new year.