Advent n. 1. a coming into place, view, or being; arrival. 2. the coming of Christ into the world. 3. a season (including four Sundays) before Christmas, commemorative of Christ’s coming.
Now that we’re reached the final weeks of 2023, you may find yourself as incredulous as I am that December is upon us. Only fourteen shopping days remain and just three weeks until 2024! As I glance at my December calendar, parties, gatherings, and holiday activities crowd every week. ‘Tis the season to be…busy?
Above all this bustle I hear the whisper of centuries of Christian tradition, inviting us to recognize, participate in, and celebrate the season of Advent. Advent season is a time of anticipation and preparation. Not unlike Simeon and Anna, we long for the arrival of God’s Kingdom (in all its fullness) and the coming of the Messiah (for the second and final time). Like the followers of John the baptizer, we prepare ourselves for His arrival by cultivating humble and contrite hearts and living lives of devotion, purity, and service. Like Mary and Joseph, we open our lives to God’s wondrous yet potentially disruptive work in our lives. Like the shepherds and angels, our hearts are ready to joyfully give “Glory to God in the highest” and boldly bear witness to “good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.”
During the month of December, our Sunday morning classes and sermons will explore various themes leading up to and surrounding the birth of Christ. In our ongoing sermon series titled “Tell It Slant,’ we’ll flashback to Mark 1, where Mark narrates the ministry of John the Baptist. Our December Bible class, titled “Your Kingdom Come,” will explore a season of hope and of longing, of joyful expectation and of peaceful preparation.
We invite you to take advantage of a variety of special Advent gatherings and celebrations for our children, teens, and whole congregation (see more on pages 2-3).
This Advent season, may each of us embrace the exhortation of that great hymn writer Isaac Watts, who taught us to sing:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room and heav’n and nature sing…