Its already the 4th week of Advent this Sunday 9:30am worship and then we follow that up with a Christmas Eve service on Monday at 5:30pm! Invite your friends and neighbors. Gather your family together and make worship a priority for your family Christmas celebration this season. Is Jesus not the reason for the season? All other things seem to pale in comparison.
I began this Advent season with a reflection on the need to make space for the coming of Jesus to the human heart. How has that been going for you over the past three weeks? Now is the time. On Sunday, we will reflect on this phrase in Luke 2, “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary intentionally made space for the Savior of the world in more ways than one. She carried the Savior, gave birth to the Savior, held the Savior, nursed the Savior, sang the Savior to sleep, began raising the Savior… (you get the picture!) She made room for the Savior and in those early days can imagine all that she pondered, reflected on, and prayed into. What a wonder this baby Jesus would have been.
Mary and Joseph are wonderful examples of God’s people listening, responding in faith and surrender, and stepping forward in obedience. Here is something to ponder and reflect on: How do both Mary and Joseph demonstrate listening, faith, surrender and obedience? Take a look at the early chapters in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John before Jesus was born. How does Mary respond to the news that she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Savior of the World? How does Joseph respond to the news of Mary’s pregnancy? What is the initial reactions? What are the steps of faith demonstrated after they encounter the angels?
See you Sunday! In the Advent spirit – waiting… can’t wait!
A Universe of Promise: From Creation to its full Consummation at the end of all things! Our Advent series has been a wonderful adventure of looking deeper into the narrative of Luke 2. Who were these characters (Caesar, Angels, Shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus) and why do they matter?
We looked at Caesar and the political world of Jesus birth, a tale of two kingdoms. We looked at the angels bursting on the scene in brilliance and then ‘poof’ they return to heaven. Why such limited glimpses of God’s glory throughout the unfolding of God’s story and why so much waiting for God’s people throughout history for his Kingdom to come in all of its fullness? And this week we look at the shepherds. Who were they at Jesus birth? High society class or low? Older men or children/teenagers? Boys or girls? Why could that matter?
Come Sunday ready to worship our Savior Jesus! “For to the shepherds (us) this Savior has been born” – to ordinary, common, everyday, ‘least of these persons’… just like us – like me, like you! And that is good news!
This Sunday, we will plan to squeeze in a Christmas program, Advent Candle reading, Jesse Tree teaching, Communion, and a briefer than ‘normal’ message. Sounds like a very full time of joy! Come and worship.
A Universe of Promise? That’s right. We live in a universe of promise. If that is the case, where is the fulfilment of promise? This world is filled with broken promises. Promises are made but often not kept. Many promises seem never to be fulfilled.
How ought we to understand God’s promise given at Jesus birth: “To you a Savior has been born.” The people of God for hundreds of years were waiting for the fulfilment of the promises given to Isaiah. They still hoped but didn’t know if they would ever see its fulfilment.
For us today the promise of God that a Savior was to be born has been fulfilled in Jesus. Yet, everything is not well. We do not see the kingdom of God established in all of its fullness. There is a phrase in Biblical Theology ‘already, but not yet.’ It describes the tension we live in today between our Savior Jesus being born, finishing the work of redemption, and ushering in God’s Kingdom, yet, this ‘Kingdom come’ seems incomplete.
How are we to understand this in the midst of the brokenness of everyday 21st century life on earth? Hmmm… Maybe the Angels can help us understand. Maybe Jesus name of Immanuel can help us understand. Maybe the hope, joy, and peace that has been an essential expression of the Christian Church throughout history while in the midst of deep longing can help us understand. See you Sunday.
We will read further into Luke Chapter 2:8-14 for Sunday’s message. It seems like glimpses of God’s glory are brief and fleeting. Kinda like the angel appearances in Scripture. Here one moment in a flash of brilliance and good news – and then poof, silence. Crickets. Lots more about that on Sunday… God’s Peace and Good Will be with you today.
Its here – Advent 2018! As we begin our Advent journey be aware of the use of your time and the strength of your commitments. Be intentional with the spirit of the season by avoiding the rush of activities, the hustle and bustle of our commercial culture, and the over scheduling of events. Carve out intentional time with God in regular Sunday worship, daily reflection in Word and prayer, meaningful connection with those closest to you, and seek opportunities to bless some others. Or what will almost certainly happen is your life will be swallowed up with other things and the holidays pass by with more regret than joy, more fatigue than rest, more anxiety than peace. When it comes to the Christmas season – less is more.
With that mini sermon (word of wisdom) in mind, our focus for Advent will be on Luke 2. We will walk through this epic Christmas story with eyes on different characters. Each of our five Advent worship experiences will weekly focus on Caesar (Political Economy and Justice), Angels (Beauty and the Arts), Shepherds (Family and Relationships), Mary and Joseph (Listening and Faith) and Jesus (The Reason for it All).
For this Sunday, Advent 1 – December 2nd, we will take a look at the rulers of zero AD: Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, and Herod the Great. Why does Luke even mention these people? Could it be that Luke is setting up a ‘Tale of Two Kingdoms’? Luke is a very detailed writer and includes names and places for a definite reason. It probably has something to do with the main themes of his Gospel: The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (and save what was lost..). and Today, a Savior is born to you, he is Christ the Lord!
See you Sunday!
Hike to the Star this coming Saturday, December 1st, meet at church at 5:30pm!