The holiday season is upon us. We will fill ourselves with home-cooked extravagance, travel and gather as families, finish (or procrastinate on) gift shopping, be reminded of giving thanks, and reminded of Jesus birth. This is one of my favorite times of year. Particularly, I look forward to preparing our corporate times of worship during Advent season.
This Sunday, November 27, is the beginning of Advent season. Advent is part of a traditional church calendar that has origins in the fourth century. Early on, church leaders took example from the feasts of the Old Testament, and began outlining seasons of the year that the church would focus on different moments in the life of Jesus. The beginning of that new calendar starts with Jesus birth on the Earth.
Advent is a word that means anticipation. We choose to focus on four responses to the good news of Christ’s arrival that we find in the Gospels. As we look at the stories of the shepherds, angels, Mary, Joseph and Herod we draw themes from their personal involvement in the miraculous promise of God come down in the flesh to walk among us.
Our first time of worship will be themed by “hope.”
The second is a time to reflect on the “peace” the Christ child will bring.
Our third gathering will look at “joy.”
While our fourth Sunday of Advent is a time to respond to His great “love” seen through the humble act of being born as a baby and ultimately taking our sin to the cross.
As we worship together through four Sundays and a culmination gathering on Christmas Eve, I want to encourage you to prepare your heart. Let Alsbury anticipate together the birth of the Savior of the world. Let us remember His strength, provision and plan that began humbly two thousand years ago.
What will your response be as you remember to anticipate the birth of your Savior?
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Mary’s Song, Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)