(from our CrossCurrents monthly newsletter)
I came across a wonderful quote that reminds us of why we bother with a season of Advent, of preparation, before we head into Christmas:
“Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy. We cannot prepare for an observance. We must prepare for an experience.”
(Handel H. Brown, A Recipe for a Merry Christmas)
For four weeks in December, we will anticipate the coming Christ. And we do so to prepare our hearts for the holy experience of Christmas. We light one candle a week, and then on Christmas Eve night, we light that final candle, the Christ candle, and we do so as a people ready for Christ’s coming into our lives once again.
Some say that saying “Happy Holidays” is the end of Christmas in our midst. But I say that losing a sense of expectancy and wonder is a much worse blow to our faith. At First Baptist, and at many Christian churches this season, we will pause to live into that expectancy. We will remember what Christ’s coming means for our lives, how we are transformed by it.
And frankly, there are so many opportunities to celebrate Christmas (really, beginning about November 1st!), but there is only one place that intentionally slows down to keep the meaning of the season central – and that’s in worship together at church.
I hope you will join us this season as we prepare for Christ’s coming together. We will worship not only at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, but we will also gather for a new service on Wednesday, December 18th at 6:00 p.m. in the Chapel called the Longest Night Service.
The Longest Night Service is held on a Wednesday night near the longest, darkest night of the year. At this service, we will recognize that the holidays are sometimes not joyful for everyone, as we are faced with the painful realities of this life: depression, loss of loved ones, grief, pain, divorce, job loss, fear, and so many other things. The service of the Longest Night allows us to sit together to remember, to mourn, and to see the Light who remains in our lives despite it all this season. We will offer a time of remembrance, a time of communion, and prayers and liturgy to attend to our souls.
May Light upon Light come over us this Advent & Christmas season, and may we as a church family experience anew Christ’s coming in our lives!
May we have a Blessed Advent in these coming weeks!