The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.
(Matthew 1:23, ESV)


On Friday, October 30, Jeanine and I had to make a quick trip to Lowe’s. As we walked through the door I looked in surprise and said to Jeanine, “Look! They have all the Christmas stuff out already, and it’s not even Halloween!” It seems like every year the ramp-up to Christmas is earlier and earlier. Well, can you blame anyone? It’s 2020! And not much has gone as planned. So, why not look forward to something joyful. Christmas is, after all, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Hopefully, we will get to enjoy the family get-togethers, the food, the music, the lights, you name it!

Christmas is also a wonderful time of the year, though, because it re-focuses our attention upon Christ. We tend to get so caught up in the busyness of the holiday that we lose proper focus, but it need not be that way. One way we can maintain our focus is by observing Advent (the word Advent means coming). Advent is the time of the year, beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and usually culminating with a Christmas Eve service when we look back to the first coming of Christ and look forward to His second coming. The lighting of the Advent candles in hopeful anticipation of the return of Christ is the most prevalent symbol of the season. While we’re nowhere in Scripture commanded to celebrate or observe Advent, this tradition can be a helpful way to instruct your family on the true meaning of Christmas over several weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. So, to keep you and your family’s eyes fixed upon the Christ of Christmas, you may want to celebrate the season with the lighting of the Advent candles in your home each week during a time of family worship. Use the following thoughts and Scriptures to help you focus on Christ this Christmas. May God help us to maintain a proper focus.

First Sunday in Advent | November 29—Mark 13:24-37
The first Sunday in Advent begins a week of reflection upon the Second Coming of Christ. In John’s gospel, Jesus comforted His disciples by reminding them that He would come again (John 14:3).  Christians today live with the hope that Jesus is coming again!

Second Sunday in Advent | December 6—Mark 1:1-8
Beginning with the second Sunday in Advent, we consider the need to prepare for Christ’s return.  Hopeful waiting requires spiritual preparation, “so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28).

Third Sunday in Advent | December 13—John 1:6-8, 19-28
Joy marks the observance beginning the third Sunday in Advent. Jesus’ birth was good news of great joy for all the people (Luke 2:10). It was news of joy because it was this Jesus who came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) by giving His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

Fourth Sunday in Advent | December 20—Luke 1:26-38
God with us is the theme of the fourth week of Advent. Through the conception of the Holy Spirit, Jesus entered this world in human flesh so that He could reconcile all things to God through His fleshly body (Colossians 1:22).

Christmas Eve | Thursday, December 24—Luke 2:1-20
On Christmas Eve we celebrate the birth of Christ. Join us this Christmas Eve at 6:00 p.m. as we come together for a time of corporate worship for our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight service.

Whether or not you choose to incorporate the Advent celebration tradition, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus during this busy season that so easily distracts us from the Christ of Christmas.

Love,

Pastor Juan

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