Dear BPC Members and Friends,
We’re moving into the season of Advent, and on November 29th we’ll light the first candle in our Advent Wreath. “Joy to the World” proclaims “let every heart prepare him room”, so the four Sundays in Advent—concluding on December 20—are special times for preparing our hearts, minds and homes for the birth of Jesus Christ.
Our worship during Advent, especially the lighting of the Advent candles, proclaims that the light of Christ shines in the world’s darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. As Isaiah proclaims, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.” In many different activities during December, the congregation will show forth Christ’s light as we touch the lives of many different people through our charitable activities such as the Wish Tree, the PJ’s and Underwear collection, the Christmas Joy Offering and so on.
In the midst of all the busy times of the Christmas season, it all comes back to whether we are truly preparing room in our hearts for the good news of Christ’s birth and the difference that following him makes in our lives. While much important work takes place at and through the Church, how we celebrate at home and open our hearts to the message of Christmas at home are vitally important, too. Can we find still points of peace during the hectic times of the holiday?
On Sunday, November 29, my sermon will focus on “Saints and Sinners: Jesus’ Family Tree.” We’ll look at the genealogy that Matthew gives us in the first part of his Gospel, and we’ll reflect on the fact that the genealogy is not comprised of just Saints. On the second Sunday of Advent, December 6, the sermon is “The Tree of Life”, inviting us to look at the symbolism of the Christmas tree down through the years.
On Sunday, December 13, members of the Women’s Bible Study Group will present a sermon in several voices, reflecting on who Jesus’ mother Mary was in the context of her times. Then on December 20, I’ll also do some reflecting on Mary and her “Pondering Heart”.
Advent and Christmas are so very familiar to us that perhaps we don’t think we’ll hear something new or learn something new about the familiar Christmas Story. I firmly believe that each one of us has something new—maybe several “something news” that God is inviting us to reflect on during this special time of the year.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and may God richly bless our preparation for and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Peace of the Lord be with you!