From Our Senior Pastor
 
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Here’s what comment I hear often post-Christmas: It all went by too quickly! Planning, preparing, decorating, shopping, cooking, travelling, etc. seems to take up so much time. The idea of a month-long time of patient waiting and contemplating Christ seems a foreign concept these days. Sometimes the very meaning and purpose of Christ’s coming into the world gets a bit lost in the shuffle. And even when we do acknowledge Him, we tend to omit the next part of the story – Jesus Second Advent!

As Timothy Paul Jones puts it, 

“In Advent, Christians embrace the groaning, recognizing it not as hopeless whimpering over the paucity of the present moment but as expectant yearning for the divine banquet Jesus is preparing for us. In Advent, the church admits, as poet R. S. Thomas puts it, that “the meaning is in the waiting.” And what we await is a final Advent yet to come. Just as the ancient Israelites awaited the coming of the Messiah in flesh, we await the coming of the Messiah in glory. In Advent, believers confess that the infant who drew his first ragged breath between a virgin’s knees has yet to speak his final word.”

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and – like the Wise Men – we know that this is the birth of a King! And this King is coming again!

That’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited as we begin our celebration of Advent together! As we look forward to the celebration of Christmas with family and friends, our time together in worship on Sunday mornings and in our Life Groups on Sundays and throughout the week will help center and focus our celebration on the person of Christ. We will go to God’s Word to see what God says about living in Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. And finally, on Christmas Eve, we will celebrate Christ Jesus – our everlasting Light! We will look back and His birth and forward to His return.

Consider the words of this great hymn by Charles Wesley:
 
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

This Advent season also prepares us for the New Year as we begin our journey through Mark’s Gospel starting on January 5. The Gospel of the King will introduce some and reacquaint others to the Good News of the Kingdom of God and the great King who rules!

May God bless you and yours with Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love – all in the person of Christ!

- Pastor Paul