11/26 - Pastor's Post


    This Sunday, November 27, we begin the season of Advent, which also marks the start of a new liturgical year. At a time when the daylight is getting ever shorter and darkness seems to cover the earth, and we are still more than a month away from the secular new year (2017!), we hear the comforting words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:12--The night is far gone, the day is near. And we hear once again the familiar words of the premier Advent hymn: O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransome captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.
    Advent is a penitential time, a time of waiting, a time of "preparing the way of the Lord," a time of introspection, a time of asking ourselves, "what is it in my life that must change, how can I make straight the way for God within?"
    One good way to do this is by attending church all four Sundays in Advent. This year the Fourth Sunday in Advent is an entire week from Christmas; December 24 is on a Saturday evening. So, we have a longer time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of our Lord's birth than usual (as in, for example, a year when Christmas falls in the middle of the week).
    Another excellent way to observe Advent is by engaging in daily Bible readings that pertain directly to this season in the church calendar. Therefore, I would like to propose during the coming weeks before Christmas readings for the week to come. Here is the first installation:
Sunday, November 27: Be Ready! Matthew 24:37-22
Monday, November 28: Lord, Heal Me Matthew 8:5-11
Tuesday, November 29: The Branch of Jesse Isaiah 11:1-10
Wednesday, November 30: Call on the Lord Romans 10:9-18
Thursday, December 1: Build on the Rock Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Friday, December 2: Lord, Have Mercy Matthew 9:27-31
Saturday, December 3: Walk in the Way Isaiah 30:19-21
    I hope this series of readings will prove to be a worthy antidote against all the stress and rush to "get everything ready for Christmas" that the secular world has created. Yes, I like hearing festive music, the tacky lights, TV specials having to do with the season, and all the other things that "help to make the season bright." But daily devotions during Advent can help us anchor all these things in what is the true meaning of the season, what Christmas is really about, lead us towards a deeper undertanding of the significance of Christ's birth, when the Word was made flesh flesh and dwelt among us. 
    In this spirit let us observe a meaningful Advent! I'll reserve my wishes for a Merry Christmas to all for three weeks and six days from now.
Pastor John Schweitzer
Last Published: December 5, 2016 11:54 AM
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