As we enter into the days of Advent and Christmas, I remind you that these seasons lift up for us many important themes, such as waiting and anticipation, hope and renewal, promise and fulfillment, wonder and joy.  These themes and others will be proclaimed in the great hymns, prayers and messages of our worship.  I encourage you to make time to join us.

Martin Luther captures many of these themes in his great Christmas hymn From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.  Our Sunday School children will lead us in exploring this hymn during the 11:00 service on December 17.

During our Advent Midweek Services on Wednesdays, we will look closely at the themes presented to us in John 1:1–18—the Prologue to one of the Bible’s greatest and grandest books.  These verses from John’s Gospel contain some of the most important words ever written! They explode with light and brilliance, truth and grace.  We will take the most famous of these verses as our preaching theme: “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14).

The three midweek services will then lead us into our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.  The whole progression will look like this:

Midweek 1 – Wednesday, Dec. 6 – Jesus the Word

Midweek 2 – Wednesday, Dec. 13 – Jesus the Light

Midweek 3 – Wednesday, Dec. 20 – Jesus the Son

Christmas Eve – Sunday, Dec. 24 – Jesus, the Word made Flesh

Christmas Day – Monday, Dec. 25 – Jesus, full of Grace and Truth

 

Historically, the fourth Gospel is likened to an eagle—an image suggesting that John soars to awesome heights of glory and grandeur. As we begin Advent and dig deep into John 1:1–18, get ready to fly!

Our Sundays in Advent will focus on the traditional texts from Mark’s Gospel.  Here we are led to consider our readiness for Christ’s return, John the Baptist’s messages about repentance and preparation, and the Angel’s message to Mary about the birth of God’s Son.  Historically, Mark’s Gospel is likened to a lion—an image suggesting that Jesus is a strong and powerful king, and that the reader will grow in courage.  We look forward to the growth and comfort God will give us in these days to come.

A blessed Advent and Christmas to all of you!

Pastor Mark Shaltanis

 

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