Advent

Advent

We Beheld His Glory

John 1:19-34 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory” (1:14). After writing the most astounding good news to ever be written “the Word became flesh,” why does John then say, “and we beheld his glory?” Why didn’t John say something like, “and we received the gift of eternal life?” Or, why didn’t John say something like, “and God and humanity were reconciled?” Why does John say, “and we beheld his glory?” Come Sunday as we conclude our Advent series discussing this important phrase in John’s prologue.

We Beheld His Glory: The One and Only

John 1:14-18 Before time and space began, God was already as a community of perfect Love: Father, Son and Spirit, fully present to one another. Out of the generosity of this great love, God through the Word, created a cosmos to experience his presence. In the fullness of time he sent his beloved, his One and Only, into the world, into space and time. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He did not abhor the Virgin’s womb, but dwelt there for nine months. In the man Jesus Christ, God was present to his people in love. God drew near: his One and Only has made him known.

We Beheld His Glory: The Light

John 1:6-13 Like a musical overture to a symphony, the prologue to John’s gospel introduces the major themes of his work — the pre-existent Word, light, life, witness, darkness, rejection, believing, birth, glory. It is poetic — prose, dense with layers of meaning, ambiguity and especially surprise. After we are initially captivated and seized by awe with John’s exalted view of the the Word — preexistent, creator of all things, equal with God (John 1:1-5) — we can’t help but wonder, How will the Word make its grand entrance on planet earth? What kind of reception will the Word receive? What impact will it have in a world shrouded in darkness? The answers John gives are not what we would expect, but equip us with realistic expectations and tools for how to spread God’s light and love in a hostile world.

We Beheld His Glory: The Word

John 1:1-5 How one begins a story says a lot about what that story will be about. In his gospel, John begins with the Word who ‘was’ before anything else came into being. Whose greatness is matched only by His love. And who is powerful enough to ensure that the Darkness will not overcome the Light and that Death will ultimately be defeated by Life. Come join us this Sunday as we begin our Advent series walking though John’s introduction to the story of the One who was both fully God and fully man, the Word who became flesh and dwelt amongst us.

Whence Does He Come?

Matt 2:13-23 For God so loved the world, he sent his son… into the harsh reality of a fallen, dark, violent and suffering world. In the incarnation, we see the unbelievable depth of God’s extravagant love. He so extravagantly loves us that he enters into our reality in all of our pain and struggles and sorrows. He lives our reality which means we can trust him when he will eventually grow up and teach us. He really is the only hope “far as the curse is found.”

Where is He Who Has Been Born King of the Jews?

Matt 2:1-12 On this, the third Sunday of Advent, Matthew answers the third question concerning the birth of the Messiah through the voice of the Magi “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” The question is fraught with political overtones as it was addressed to one who claimed to be king of the Jews. Matthew’s portrayal of the Magi and Herod set in bold contrast two differing “ways” and “destinies.” One leading to life, the other to death and their is no third. Which one are you?

How Can This Be?

Matt 1:18-25 How can Jesus be born of Mary if Joseph is not the birth father? When Joseph found that his betrothed Mary was pregnant he pondered these things. How can this be? An angel gave him the answer: “that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” The same Spirit that hovered over the waters prior to the first creation, had now overshadowed Mary’s womb. God sends the same Spirit into us to birth a new creation. How can our broken pots be repaired so that they are even more beautiful than the original? It is the same answer: from the Holy Spirit.

Who IS This Child?

Matt 1:1-17 Over the four Sundays of Advent we will follow Matthew’s account of the birth story of Jesus (Matthew 1–2). We’ll find answers to four questions about this newborn child. Who? Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. How? From a virgin through the Holy Spirit. Where? In Bethlehem. Whence? From Egypt to Nazareth. In each case this is in fulfillment of the Scriptures.

Christ and Salvation

Col 1:15-20 God was pleased to have all His fulness dwell in this baby in the manger! When God took on human form in the person of Jesus, everything changed forever, beginning with God making peace with humanity. This is the culmination of God’s saving plan – it’s amazing, it’s exciting, and it’s definitely worth celebrating!! Our Family-Friendly Celebration will include a play put on by our youth ministries, a short message wrapping up our Advent series, and, of course, many of your favorite Christmas songs.

Christ and New Creation

Col 1:15-20 Your desire for God and your capacity to connect with God as a human soul is the essence of who you are. And the place where that desire is met is in a person who makes visible and tangible the invisible and intangible God. God becomes human flesh in Jesus. “The Incarnation brings the world (God’s) presence. It is a presence so complete that it overshadows every presence before it.” (Carlos Caretto). If God isn’t like Jesus, he ought to be.

Christ and Creation

Col 1:15-20 This baby in the manger is the – image of the invisible God firstborn of all creation creator of all things the goal of all things before all things and in him, all things hold together. It takes your breath away, but that’s the magnificence of the incarnation!

And Heaven and Nature Sing

Luke 2:1-20 On this fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Day, we hear the voice of the angel announcing to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10-11). At critical times in Israel’s history when their world grew oppressive and morally dark, God intervened to subvert the existing order announcing “good news” of a new beginning, a fresh start, often through a deliverer who would be born to a barren woman. Yet, despite God’s faithfulness, giving Israel a fresh start again and again, it never lasted. There was always an ominous crack in the foundation of the new order, a fatal character flaw in the human instruments. Why should we expect this “good news” to be any different? How can we be sure it will last? What clues does Luke give us that this will be history’s last new beginning upon which everything else will be built, a beginning that evokes everlasting praise from every creature and all of creation? Join us Christmas Day to receive God’s gift and when you open it, “heaven and nature sing!”