It really shouldn’t surprise me anymore. But somehow, every year on the day after Halloween, it still does: Christmas decorations pop up all over town, and holiday music takes center stage on the radio. Have you noticed this trend in the last handful of years? American consumerism wants to drive us directly from Halloween to Christmas.
But not in the Church.
All around the world, Christians observe the season of Advent, four weeks of waiting in preparation and penitence before celebrating and remembering Jesus’ birth. Pushing against a culture that wants to jump from Halloween straight to Christmas, Advent creates space for every heart to prepare Him room as creation waits to receive her King.
In Advent, we remember and re-tell the story of Israel waiting hundreds of years for the arrival of the promised Messiah, not knowing when He could come, or who He would be. Like the Israelites, we are waiting. We wait not for the Messiah’s coming, but for His return. We know that His return will bring about the fullness of God’s Kingdom – a Kingdom described in Scripture as being built on the twin foundations of justice and peace; in which all of creation is restored to the good order for which God intended it; and where God’s glory fills the world like the warm brilliance of the sun.
Beginning Sunday, December 1, our sermon series, worship services, and Advent devotional will explore some of the names and characteristics associated with the Messiah, the One whose first advent in Bethlehem 2000 years ago we remember and celebrate, and the One whose second advent we await with eager anticipation. Particularly, we will examine the fourfold messianic name given by the prophet Isaiah: Wonderful Counselor-Mighty God-Everlasting Father-Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). We will consider how Isaiah’s descriptions point us toward God and His activity in the world through Christ.
Journey with us to the manger as we wait with eagerness for the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom – a Kingdom marked by the wisdom, righteousness, nurture and shalom of this Mighty and Eternal ruler, who Himself is our peace.
Rev. Heather Thomsen Tang, with Rev. Amy Carlan