the Great Reversal 2023
(Luke 2:22-38) Lord, have mercy on those who make us wait! In a world where speed and efficiency are honored as cardinal virtues and the equation of time with money is undisputed, being made to wait borders on sin. Yet the Christian life is fundamentally defined by a willingness to wait for the coming of God and the fulfillment of His promises! How do we wait when we’ve been trained to do anything but? Join us this Sunday — both the final Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve — for our final installment of our Advent Series, “The Great Reversal”.
(Luke 2:1-20) Each year at this time, the tradition for world leaders from all over the world is to provide a Christmas message to their people, a Christmas proclamation. Some do it merely out of duty while others seem to have some conviction behind it. But, as thoughtful as those proclamations typically are, none of them will ever come close to the staggering proclamation made by the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas. Join us this Sunday as we explore the staggering good news of Christmas.
(Luke 1:67-79) “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,” cried Isaiah. Advent is a season of anticipating God’s coming; this is what advent means. In his song the Benedictus, Zechariah praises God that he has come down and visited his people and will again visit his people. How so? In the birth of two babies: John the Baptist and Jesus. Will the people be hospitable when God comes to visit? Are we hospitable to God’s visitation?
Luke 1:26-55 Advent is the season of music. Music has incredible power to awaken dull minds, stir the emotions, and activate our wills with tremendous force. Consider the stirring sounds of a lone trumpet playing taps or the bagpiper’s penetrating notes of “Amazing Grace” at a funeral, or the heart-stopping beat of a massive drum roll of a marching band at a football game. Music can also be revolutionary, invading secular minds, breaking down hard hearts, and touching individuals with a dimension of what is holy. As the climax to Israel’s story, Luke gives us not one or two, but four songs of praise, announcing two miraculous births of sons to women who are childless. These boys will grow up to become the agents of God’s long-promised revolution, the victory over the powers of evil. “When the beating of your heart/ Echoes the beating of the drums/ There is a life about to start/ When tomorrow comes!” (“Do You Hear the People Sing?” – Les Miserables)