December 10 was the second Sunday of the Advent season, which is the four-ish weeks leading up to Christmas Day. It is a time of waiting and reflection, remembering the years of waiting for the birth of Jesus, and recognizing also that we are waiting now for his return.
So, what happened on that second Sunday of Advent? Sunday School classes continued in the Advent theme, including the children making shepherd’s crosses as an art project. Several enjoyed showing their work to adults and other friends after class. During 11am worship, Malachi and JJ read the Advent text and lit the two candles for the morning’s worship. Mike preached from Isaiah 40:1-11 about imagination and hope in such passages, and called us to respond with faith and action, preparing for and responding to Christ.
During these weeks of Advent, there are scripture readings each day. Here are the readings for this second week of Advent:
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” …. After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11).
The characters of the Christmas story are fascinating. There is much we don’t know about the ones known as magi or wise men, but what we do know is plenty interesting. They seem to be men who came from another country, who recognized something different in the sky and understood it as a divine sign.
And what did they do? Without knowing where they were going or what to expect, but they packed up and started what was probably a long journey, taking gifts with them, too.
I’ve heard this story plenty of times before, but what stood out to me this week is their faith. They didn’t insist on knowing all the details before they decided to move forward and started on their way. And when they found Jesus, they didn’t sit around waiting for the child to grow up and prove himself; they acknowledged him as worthy of honor, and their gifts reflected it.
As I think of the wise men this year, I am drawn to their faith and action, to their decision that while they didn’t know everything, they knew enough to take the next right step. That’s a pretty good path to walk.
In Christian tradition, each new year begins with the start of Advent on the 4th Sunday before Christmas. It is a time to recognize and reflect on the promise of the long-awaited Messiah, which we will celebrate at Christmas. We are also reminded to wait expectantly for his future return. This year, Advent began on December 3.
So, what happened on that day? At 9:45am, new Advent-focused Sunday School classes began for children, youth, and adults. These will continue through December 17. During 11am worship, Kyle and Amanda read from the Bible and lit the first candle of the Advent wreath — the candle of hope. Pastor Kevin preached from Isaiah 64:1-9, recognizing struggles and regrets as we go through life, and proclaiming that God is at work in the midst of it all.
In announcements and other news…
- Sunday School classes are available for children, youth, and adults. The focus of these groups will be on Advent through December 17. Of note, Sunday School classes will not meet on December 24 or 31.
- There will be a Christmas Eve candlelight service on December 24 at 6pm, with songs and readings of the Christmas story. Come enjoy this final evening of preparation before Christmas Day.
- On New Year’s Eve, Rosewood Lane will have a party to ring in the new year, 8pm until midnight. Bring a favorite game to play and cereal to share.
- For those planning to make a year-end financial gift, please note that any charitable contributions for the 2017 calendar year must be received or postmarked no later than December 31. A statement of contributions will be sent by January 31.
During these weeks of Advent, there are scripture readings each day. Here are the readings for this week: