1st Sunday of Advent: Hanging of the Greens
TEXT: Luke 21:25-38
TITLE: “Signs of His Coming”
THEME: We are the signs of the kingdom.
TEXT: Philippians 1:3-11
TITLE: “Prayers of Christmas”
THEME: Let us pray with thanksgiving, waiting, and love.
Rejoice! : Even while we wait – because we know what’s coming!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Rejoice! Again I say, Rejoice! - Joy is our word of the day on this 3rd Sunday of Advent. Joy in waiting for the celebration of Jesus’ birth – and joy when it comes!
In these 4 presentations of how it might have been that first Christmas – at the time of the birth of Jesus – we do hear sounds of joy or at least the expectation of joy. …. And yet, there is also doubt and darkness and even the hint of sorrow and grief to come. The Christmas story is not all joy.
Yet joy is the main theme – both of the story and of this scripture:
o A call to rejoice in the Lord – not in circumstances nor in the details of where we are in life (which may or may not be “good”)
o As we wait – be gentle, considerate, patient – “Let people know that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them” (The Message)
o Set aside our anxiety and give thanks to God, bringing to the Lord whatever we need in every situation.
o And along with joy, we will receive the peace that transcends all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Hope, peace, joy – these are not just the themes of Advent but the promises of God for our lives.
o In the gospel reading today, we hear again the story of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus – John in the desert calling people to a total change of their lives – In his preaching, John speaks of bearing fruit in keeping with repentance – with our changing lives.
o And in a letter Paul wrote, he spoke of that fruit and named among other things – Love, joy, peace. This is what God offers and promises and desires in our lives every day.
In our lives – as in the Christmas story – we may experience sorrow and grief – anxiety and inner turmoil – unsettled circumstances in life – along with what is good …. Today is my oldest granddaughter’s 21st birthday – and also the 25th remembrance of my son’s death – a day of mixed feelings. - That’s often how life is. The hope and promise of Christmas – of the coming of Jesus into this world – is that we can experience renewed hope, deep peace, and great joy. – May it be so this Christmas!
[No audio available.]
TEXT: Luke 1:46-55
TITLE: “My Spirit Rejoices”
THEME: When we show justice, we can rejoice in God.
Audio recording includes 2 choir anthems at the beginning.
Sermon begins about 4 minutes into the recording.
A New Christmas Story 2018
December 30, 2018
TEXT: Luke 2:41-52
TITLE: “Growing Up”
THEME: Grow up into the maturity of Christ.