We’ve had such a nice Advent season so far this year. And in and amongst all of that, the weather even got warm enough this week for the workmen to come and finish the work on our shed. Life is good.
In our service this week, the Barry family lit our third Advent Candle with a reading of a striking Advent poem by Christina Rosetti, focusing on how hard it was for the world to wait for the promised Messiah and how hard it can seem for us today to wait on Him through those times which seem like “dark nights of the soul” -- how crucial it is to hold onto Him during those difficult times and hold out until the dawn comes.
I would like to invite you to come join us for any or all of our upcoming holiday activities. We won’t have any Sunday School classes until 2018 rolls in, but we will have our special Christmas Eve Candlelight Service that we hold every year at 6:30 that evening (and yes, when people asked, “We’re having two services on Christmas Eve?” I had to remind them that many churches actually have a morning and an evening service every Sunday).
Then, a week later, we will be hosting our annual New Year’s Eve Family Game Night. This is a perfect time to invite friends to join us for fun and fellowship. So just bring your favorite game(s), your favorite finger food(s) or other munchies, your favorite family member(s), and your favorite friend(s), and feel free to come and go as you please that evening. We’ll open the doors at 6:30, and I’m going home at midnight (because I’ll suddenly feel very, very old) -- other than that, the schedule is wide open.
In our message this week, we continued talking about the “H & Ws” of Christmas -- what, where, how, who, etc. This Sunday, we looked at the theological “what” of that first Christmas.
See, when we think of Christmas, we tend to either just enjoy the familiar narrative or focus on the fact that Jesus came to Earth to save us from our sins. The former is totally good to do, and the latter is crucial for us to always remember. But there is a danger to both ways of thinking -- the danger of thinking of something miraculous happening that night... and then nothing all that spectacular going on for the next couple of decades.
The most profound “what” of that first Christmas continued on throughout the life of Christ, and then continues on through today, and then will find its ultimate and most amazing fruition at the end of the world. The truly awe-inspiring “what” of Christmas is that God Himself came to walk among us, alongside of us. We’d had that in the Garden, and then we gave it up to do what we wanted. We’d gotten used to Him speaking from a comfortable distance for millennia, and then mourned the silence of His voice for centuries. And then the angels announced the coming of Immanuel -- God with us!
Jesus walked with us throughout His life, then promised to be with us until the end of the age, and then showed us that after that end, we won’t even need the sun because His light will always shine on us throughout eternity as we walk with Him in His Kingdom -- a Kingdom on Earth started on that first Christmas Eve, that all of us as Christians can and should walk as ambassadors in every day.
Let’s stop for a moment -- just for a moment, in-between the present-wrapping and tinsel-hanging and ham-baking -- to think about how being an ambassador of the eternal Kingdom of God should change how you and I should celebrate the birth of our King. Shouldn’t that end up being at least a little bit different from how everyone else prepares for that celebration?
What’s the most exciting thing about Christmas? That the Kingdom of God has come!
Our whole church family here wish you a very Merry Christmas!