The season of Advent
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” Advent is a month long season—four Sundays—set aside as a time to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in his First Advent. The first Sunday in Advent marks the beginning of a new Church year; it is the time we go back to the beginning of Jesus’ life. Advent also carries a second theme; the anticipation of the return of Jesus in his Second Advent.
Please see the Events for the month of December for information on the December 5th Comfort Service and the December 9th White Gift Sunday.
Advent makes it official; Christmas is just around the corner. Perhaps your Christmas planning and preparation are well underway. Advent is the season when we begin looking ahead to the birth of him whom St. John said “all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.”
I know that there is anxiousness over the way we expend ourselves for Christmas. We complain about the over-indulgence in gift-giving, in eating, in drinking, in the events that crowd our calendar, and in holiday making in general. Christians worry over the loss of focus on why we have Christmas at all—it seems that the event has been co-opted for any and every other purpose. Every not-for-profit and charitable organization behaves as if Christmas was organized for them to do fund-raising; for-profit organizations appear to believe the same thing.
But in the midst of all the over-indulgence, loss of focus, and co-opting of purpose I wonder if Christians make enough of Christmas. Those close to me will know of my resistance to the “Santa-fication” of Christmas; I have, at times, been accused of being a tad “Grinch-ish”. So, some of these people may be thinking that I have lost my way.
What I am asking is do I, as a Christian, have an adequate appreciation for the magnitude of what is going on at the birth of Bethlehem’s babe? “I will fulfill the promise I made”, said God through the prophet Jeremiah. I think that if we understood the magnitude of what God is doing in Jesus we couldn’t design a celebration grand enough to do it justice. Jesus is God fulfilling his promise, made through Israel to humanity, to remedy all humanity’s ills!
We offer three Christmas Eve worship services; 5:00 P.M., 7:00 P.M., and 10:30 P.M. These services each follow a traditional pattern of “Lessons and Carols”; “Lessons” refer to the reading of the Biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth; “Carols” refer to the singing of the hymns written to celebrate this birth story.
You are welcome to any of these services. At 5:00 P.M. the service is shaped with families with young children in mind. At the 7:00 P.M. and 10:30 P.M. services the Sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated.
Rev. Dr. James Clubine