Shalom,

As we enter in to the Christmas rush of the world, you know with all the glitz and glamour of Christmas presents hyped by those great advertisers from around the world. All the advertisers putting together ads for all of those things we cannot live with out. Whipping us up into a human frenzy, and with all of this hype we miss the true season we are in. It is Advent. You know Advent the four weeks before Christmas a season of preparation for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It gives us a chance to take a breath and to acknowledge the gift of God in Christ. The season proclaims the coming of Christ in the birth of Jesus, in the Word and Spirit in a time and place. It is our privilege to be a part of this celebration and receive the gracious gift of God’s presence in the world through his birth.
Then our task becomes one of preparation for the coming of this most gracious gift. Advent helps us to prepare for Christmas. This way we will not miss God’s greatest gift to humanity.

Four weeks is the time limit to this season that declares the truth about a God whose love and resourcefulness have no limits. Not even in these uncertain times.
This time of Advent also marks the beginning of the church year and lays before us the pathway of faith in Jesus Christ for the year ahead. Advent then, initiates through God’s love the remembering, and celebrating of the whole drama of God’s revelation to the people of God throughout the world.
It is important to recognize that we get another chance to get it right. The season of Advent gives the church a chance to begin again. This is a time for us to receive the gift of God and begin again in the light of God’s love for us His Son Jesus Christ. Through the time of Advent God gives us another chance to fully understand the full glory of the story of God’s grace awaiting us in a manger.

God gives us another chance to shake off the past and start a fresh in the relationship with Christ. It is a time for us to evaluate our faithfulness to God who comes so humbly, intimately, and personally in the birth of Jesus Christ.
I will agree that stress, strife, and hectic life may be distracting us. There are the clever newscasters and politicians spinning their stories and they may be making us feel uncertain and discussed. These stories cannot help us in our resolve and cannot inform us of the mysteries of God’s love and presence, or help us comprehend the meaning of our existence. Right now may be a good time for us to come together in the loving Spirit of God. Let us seek God’s vision for our lives in this time of hope that only Christ can bring. May we find a renewed spirit through our faith in God’s grace that will bring hope, peace, and love for us so we may be able to bring those same things to our neighbors. For this is the best gift we can hope for and give during this Advent and Christmas Season. Soon we will be singing, “Christ the Savior is born.” Now with anticipation may we look within ourselves for the renewal God brings to us in Christ. A renewal that enlightens us and with God’s grace brings light to all we meet and interact with.

Advent this year begins on Sunday December 2, and ends on Monday December 24. To celebrate Advent we use an Advent Wreath during our church worship service The Advent wreath which has five candles: four candles on a wreath of evergreen, are shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. Of these four candles three are purple or blue with one candle being rose or pink, to represent joy. The fifth candle a larger white candle is placed in the middle as the Christ candle. During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day reminding Christians that Jesus is the light of the world. The wreath continually reminds us of whom we are called to be as followers of Jesus.

May this Advent lead you to the love of God in the miracle of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Ed