As you are well aware, the Christmas season is now upon us. In writing that, I recognize that this can mean different things to different people. Some of us come from homes where traditions run strong and the Christmas season is full of meaningful and vibrant celebration. For others, this season has its share of difficulties marked by a genuine attempt to keep Jesus at the center. Regardless of your household's particular approach, or the changes this past year has brought, there is one hope and expectation that unites all Christians everywhere - the joyful proclamation that Christ has come and the anticipation of his return.
For nearly two-thousand years, Christians have set aside the four weeks leading up to Christmas Eve to celebrate Advent. It is an intentional time of reflecting and meditating on the storyline of God’s redemptive plan and his promises to save and restore. While there is no biblical command to observe Advent, it has become a tradition within the church, helping to serve as an intentional time of preparation for Christmas. There are certain practices feed our faith, fill us with hope, and cause us to rejoice in God and Advent is one of those traditions.
Advent should renew in us the hopeful expectation for the saving and renewing work that God is doing. This includes Jesus’ 1st coming that we celebrate through his humble arrival in a manger. It also includes his sacrificial death upon a cross and his resurrection from death. Advent also takes into consideration Jesus’ 2nd coming in which he will return to establish his kingdom on earth, ruling as King of his creation.
My goal in these next four weeks is that our church would be renewed in our faith and filled with joyful expectation and hope in our God, centered upon the wonderful good news that "Christ has come!" Over the following 4 Sundays, we will be spending time in the book of 1 John as we consider the various reasons John gives as to why Christ has come (see the preaching schedule below).
Would you join with me in praying that God would be particularly gracious to our church, that as we intentionally pause to consider the coming of Christ, we would find our own lives filled with faith, hope, and love? Additionally, if there is a friend or neighbor you have been praying for and talking with about your own hope in the gospel, why not invite them to attend a Sunday service with you?
Above all, I consider it a joy to serve as your pastor as we seek Christ together.
With my love in the Lord Jesus,