Advent 2016

advent-2016-finalWell they are finally here – The Advent and Christmas Seasons! – and with them the hopes of many a person in search of wish fulfillments. We see these hopes highlighted in the movies of the season. One character might hope for a white Christmas so that an old friend can save his ski resort. Another might hope for a Red Ryder BB gun so he can fulfill his dreams of dangerous adventure. Still, another might hope for his be-lighted house and decorated lawn to be the envy of all his neighbors and the pride of his not-too-easily-impressed family. Others might hope that a Scrooge, Grinch, or absentee father finally comes around and shows love to the others in their lives. These hopes, or longings, hint at the fact that all is not well, that there is something more, something bigger for which we are made. We too might be hoping that the right gift, the holiday decorations, or the perfect family dinner will make the pain and emptiness go away, will give us some value and purpose, or will bring the estranged father or son home. Unfortunately, the gifts we exchange ultimately fall short of filling us, the spectacle of lights and lawn ornaments does not translate into the rise in esteem we intended, and the dinner does not turn out quite how we hoped it would. But, all hope is not lost! There is a better, eternal even, reason for hope in this season.

This is one of my favorite times of the year in the Church, as it no doubt is for many, for it is a glorious season of hope for the people of Christ! The difference is that the hope we celebrate within the Church is not a wishful-thinking type of hope, but a sure and certain promise. With the hope of Christ in mind, the sanctuary will be decorated with wreaths, garland, and Christmas trees. A young person will come forward each week to light candles, helping us to signify various aspects of the Incarnation of Christ. We will have our annual Pageant with Lessons and Carols and then on Christmas Eve a communion service to culminate the season. All of these special services and decorations point us to the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus. They remind us that into the darkness of the here and now, God sent His Son to be the Light of the World. They beckon us to believe anew or to renew our faith, in the One who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary that He might show Himself to be the long hoped for King and Savior of His people. They call us to receive Him alone as the inexpressible gift of our salvation by His love, and to share that love with others.

Sermons

I will be preaching from texts that take us from the dawn of Creation to the dawn of Christmas, the New Creation in Christ Jesus. Beyond that, we will see why there is even a need for Christmas, as well as the cross and the empty tomb. We will also look at some of the women and men who are highlighted in Jesus’ genealogy, in an effort to understand the amazing nature of God’s grace. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we will look at the angelic announcements to Joseph and Mary, as well as the visits to see Jesus by the shepherds and the wise men. Finally, on Epiphany Sunday (January 1) we will look at some of the divergent reactions to Jesus’ birth in His time as we seek to understand similar reactions to Him by those in our own day.

 


The Sermons

  • The Effects of Christmas January 2, 2017 The Effects of Christmas Luke 2:21-38 Simeon and Anna are somewhat mysterious figures. They only appear in Luke’s Gospel and for just a brief encounter with the infant Jesus and his parents. That being said, there is much to mine from this passage that shows us some of the effects of Christmas. First, Jesus is the consolation ...
  • The Witnesses of Christmas December 25, 2016 The Witnesses of Christmas Matthew 1:18-25   Christmas Day 2016
  • The Son of Christmas December 24, 2016 The Son of Christmas-Matthew 1:18-25   Christmas Eve 2016
  • The Fathers of Christmas December 19, 2016 The Fathers of Christmas Matthew 1:1-17 We looked at this same passage last week, focusing in on the four women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy and how their inclusion in His family history shows that the grace of God is on full display in Jesus who is the hope for sinners and the hope for men and women ...
  • The Mothers of Christmas December 12, 2016 The Mothers of Christmas Matthew 1:1-17 Have you ever embellished something, or perhaps failed to mention something that was less than flattering, on your resume? Maybe your uncle, a small business owner, hired you as his only other employee to work part time as his website manager and to fix his computer when it crashes. Did you ...
  • The Need for Christmas December 5, 2016 The Need for Christmas Genesis 3:1-15 “Why do we need Christmas? I do not mean the trees, the lights, the snowmen, the presents, the tinsel, and so on. I mean, why do we need Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary? We needed Jesus to be our Second Adam. ...
  • The Dawn of Christmas November 27, 2016 The Dawn of Christmas Genesis 1:1-3, 26-31; 2:4-7, 18-23 and John 1:1-4 “In the beginning…” So begins the book of Genesis as well as the Gospel of John. It may seem a little out of place to begin an Advent sermon series with a message on Creation, but that is exactly where the apostle John points us. ...