Autumn officially began Monday evening at 10:34 p.m. It has already gotten a little cooler in the deep South and falling leaves are just around the corner. Summer may be over but that’s the beauty of seasons – they change. That’s actually a promise made in scripture:
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” -Genesis 8:22 ESV
The third week of Advent is about Joy and we light the Shepherds’ candle.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV) Continue reading
The advent of anything refers to its first appearing. The season of Advent is a time of preparation, waiting for the arrival of Christmas. We celebrate the waiting (perhaps honor is a better word) by examining the Old Testament prophesies, and considering the lessons the shepherds and wise men and teach us still. Lighting the candles of the Advent wreath is a far more time honored tradition than waiting in line for Black Friday deals on Sony’s PS4. Continue reading
UPDATE: There are five Sundays in December this year, four of them before Christmas. Sunday, December 2nd will be the first Sunday of Advent.
Reposted from November 27, 2011
Advent is a season of waiting and preparation for the nativity of Jesus Christ. I have been pleased to see many friends doing the “30 days of Thanksgiving” thing on Facebook. I’m more encouraged by 30 days of Thanksgiving than by 60 or even 90 days of Christmas. If you watch some classic movies, from say the 40’s or 50’s, you’ll see Dad bringing home a tree on Christmas Eve! The family decorates the tree, hang their stockings, then celebrate Christmas the very next day. Part of the beauty of Christmas is waiting for it to arrive. Continue reading
Summer is the season of mission trips, Vacation Bible School and Backyard Bible Clubs. I would like to share a personal experience that I find especially encouraging.
Our church is hosting a large number of volunteers this week from Lynchburg, VA. Their mission team is doing a few construction projects and running several Backyard Bible Clubs in different locations. One of them is at the small country church I frequently preach at. This is an old church, and does not have central air. During the day we open up the windows and turn on a couple of fans. We’ve been leaving the front door standing open, just to move some air. Well, this morning a young couple was driving by and noticed the open door. She has been looking for a job, and everyone knows what that is like right now. She felt the need to stop in and pray. They entered the back of the sanctuary, and listened to the children’s Bible lesson that was being taught. When the kids went downstairs for snacks and crafts, we had the chance to listen to their story and pray with them. We invited them to join us tomorrow, and certainly for service on Sunday.
They stopped at the church to pray because they saw the front door open. We often (I hope) invite people to church, but how inviting is our church? How many others would stop and pray, ask questions or just talk to us if they saw the door open? This happened at 11:00 on a Thursday morning. There’s a lot of hurt, a lot of need, a lot of fields white for harvest out there. It may be a stretch just to imagine people with problems wanting to be anywhere near “church people.” Imagine if more churches had open doors and people waiting to pray with those passing by. Just a thought.
It’s a new year. It’s our nature to be hopeful. We have a whole new year with new opportunities, new resolutions, and a chance to start fresh. A new president will soon take office, with a whole new administration. Yet 2009 seems to be coming in with an awful lot of 2008 baggage. Continue reading