Advent & Christmas 2020

Derived from a Latin root, the word advent means “coming” or “arrival.”  While our society attempts to draw us into a frenzy of buying, decorating, and over-scheduling, the season of Advent betrays our modern consumeristic notions by reminding us that this is a holy time, one of preparation, one of patient waiting.  Advent calls for our attention to be diverted from our phrenetic pace to deeper reflection upon the way that God chose to enter our world in the infant Christ.  “God, who is the Creator of the universe,” says author Henri Nouwen, “comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness.”  Join us for our worship series for Advent and Christmas as we view the birth of Jesus through the lenses of those who played small, yet important parts of Salvation’s larger story.

11/29             First Sunday of Advent

John the Baptist is a character right out of central casting.  Clothed in camel hair and leather with a most unusual diet, the appearance of this wilderness prophet piqued the curiosity and excitement of the people of Jerusalem and all of the surrounding region who had never seen or heard a real prophet.  While the story is old, his message to repent and prepare is just as relevant now as it was then.  Join us as we begin our Advent journey with “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” Our focus text will be Matthew 3:1-12.

12/6               Second Sunday of Advent

Unlike the often serene and domesticated carols we sing at this time of year, the Christmas story is an unlikely combination of the holy and the material, the sublime and the ordinary.  In our often anthropocentric reading of Scripture, we miss the larger story that the redemption God brings is not limited to humanity, but to all of the groaning creation.  Humans and angels weren’t the only witnesses to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Join us as we consider The Mystery (…and the Manure) of Christmas (Romans 8:18-25).

12/13             Third Sunday of Advent

The story of the shepherds being serenaded by the angels in the skies near Bethlehem is one that not only evokes the imagination, but also strains our sense of propriety.  As common laborers, unable to participate in worship in the Temple due to their uncleanliness, the shepherds are the first to be invited to go to Bethlehem and meet the Good Shepherd. Our message, The Great Bethlehem Birthquake, will come from Luke 2:8-20.

12/20            Fourth Sunday of Advent

Christmas is a time that arouses memories of seasons past.  The decorations, favorite foods, and family traditions associated with this holiday season often draw out the inner child within each of us.  There is nothing quite like viewing Christmas through the eyes of children, sparkling with anticipation and awe.  What might it mean for us to see the Christ-child this Christmas through the lenses of a child-like faith? Our message, Through the Eyes of a Child, will come from John 1:1-18.

12/27            First Sunday after Christmas

While we love to share and hear the Christmas story with all of the joy and hope that it brings, we seldom take the time to remember that from the very beginning of his life, we find Jesus already posing a threat to the world’s powers and principalities. Join us for our message, Not a Hallmark Moment (Matthew 2:13-23).

1/3                 Epiphany Sunday

As foreign astrologers who attempted to foretell the future by reading the stars, the Magi find their wisdom redirected to the unveiling of the significance of the present, and God’s presence, in the manger. Our message, Discovering the Present, will come from Matthew 2:2-12.

1/10               Baptism of The Lord

There are no birth stories in the Gospel of Mark.  No shepherds or innkeepers, no angels, or mangers.  In his no-holds-barred, bare-knuckled approach, the opening scene in Mark’s gospel dramatically portrays a water-soaked Jesus standing in the river against the backdrop of a ripped open sky.  Perhaps, like Mark and his gospel and Jesus in the Jordan, we too, should dive right in… (Mark 1:4-11).