Happy Advent

Has anyone else been taken off guard by the arrival of Advent?  I certainly have been.  Part of it is the lack of snow and cold weather and part of it is…well…I just can’t seem to put my finger on it.  It just doesn’t quite feel like Advent yet.

This morning I walked into the sanctuary and saw the Christmas trees up and some of the decorations up (the rest get hung during our “Hanging of the Greens” service this morning).  It felt awkward, but I got a feeling that once I jump in with both feet, into the deep end (singing Christmas/Advent hymns, puting Christmas music in my CD player, decorating my office and house, etc) things will get better.  So maybe I should just get into the theme of Advent and wait, prepare and anticipate.  I know things will change.  I know the season will get better.  I know “Merry Christmas” will roll off the tongue.   I know all this will happen…much the same and even more…as I know that the days are coming when God will fulfill his gracious promises he made to us through Jesus Christ.

So I will continue to prepare, wait and anticipate…for many things…so bring it on.

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!


The Spirit of Christmas

img_f0517412aa1Don’t freak out…I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the Advent sermon series I am pondering.  Sometimes it is hard to believe, but Advent is right around the corner and of course Christmas is close behind.  And since that is our reality, Advent planning needs to begin (if it hasn’t already).

I haven’t done an Advent sermon series since 2005 when I preached a series on 1 Peter (something I came across in some publication).  This year…my series is a little different.  The title of the series is “The Spirit of Christmas” with the following sermons topics:  “The Spirit of Hope”, “The Spirit of Life”, “The Spirit of Peace”, “The Spirit of Sharing” and ending on Christmas Eve with “The Spirit of Love”.  This idea came from a Hanging of the Greens worship service we are doing on Nov. 30; a service I found in a Hanging of the Greens book.

Each Christmas season, one of the things that really gets me going is seeing people totally miss the true spirit of Christmas.  It seems that with each passing year, Christmas becomes more and more commercialized (if that is even possible).  Each year I feel moved to submit a letter to the editor in our local newspaper to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas.  Each year I hear stories of how businesses and retail stores tell their employees that they can’t say “Merry Christmas” to the customers.  Heaven forbid if we offend anyone with those words.  So this sermon series really speaks to me and hopefully it will speak to others as well.

I haven’t totally thought out the scripture references for each theme (maybe you have some ideas for me), but hopefully I will have that done within the next week.  I am thinking a one day retreat away from my office might be in order.

In any case…I wanted to through this out to you and see what you think.  Is anyone else doing a Advent/Christmas sermon series?  Have you ever done one before?

God’s blessings to you as you prepare for the Christmas season.