Daylight savings is a cruel trick.  Twice a year we tweak our clocks by one hour and create the illusion that we’ve moved sunrise and sunset.  In the spring, we wake up a bit tired but with seemingly more daylight in the evening.  In the fall, perhaps we might be enticed to stay up just a little bit later and indulge our inner night owl.  Ah, but that extra hour of sleep is such a hollow victory. The early morning hours of day two and following are often much less refreshing.  For weeks you may find yourself wide awake and ready to greet the day several hours before the day is ready to “greet” you.  Or, if you live in a home with small children you will likely be awakened at unholy hours with the question: “Is it still nighttime?”  And yes, it is still nighttime.  If even the little children can’t be deceived, who do we think we’re fooling?  Conjuring light from darkness isn’t so easy after all, is it?

For generations preceding Jesus’s birth, the Jewish people were frequently reminded of the impossibility of conjuring light from darkness.  As God’s chosen people, they awaited the promised Messiah who would lead them out of spiritual darkness into the light of God’s presence.  Many cried out for this deliverance day after day, year after year, pleading with God to send their people a Savior.  At times, some tried to hurry God’s deliverance along themselves by instigating insurrections that were then quickly crushed by the reigning authorities.  Others established separatist communities where they imagined that the holiness of a small remnant might be better fostered and preserved.  Regardless of their intentions, these examples of human striving were unable to attain salvation.  Only God could bring them into the light of salvation and provide the deliverance that was needed.

The season of Advent is a time of both remembrance and expectation for the Light of Christ.  We remember the prophets who foretold Jesus’s birth.  We remember Mary, who was blessed above all women to bear the Son of God in her womb.  We remember John the Baptist who exhorted his generation to “make straight the way of the Lord.”  However, as we remember the hopeful expectations of those who awaited Jesus’s first advent, this Advent is an occasion for us to express our own hopeful expectations as well.

In Advent we acknowledge that Jesus has come and is coming again.  We live with joyful expectation, but not triumphalism, for physical and spiritual blindness is still among us, and although death is defeated, it is still our enemy.   Advent is a season for us to join our voices with the saints of the past who cried “come, Lord Jesus, come.”  It is a season for us to hear and heed John the Baptist’s call to “make straight the way of the Lord.”  Above all, Advent is a time to remember that Christ alone is our salvation.  For the light of Christ has overcome the darkness, and when he comes again in glory, he will usher us into the light of endless day.

 Paul Calvin+

Beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30, our congregation will observe the Advent season together in some of the following ways:

DSC07814Jesse Tree Devotional

A daily Advent devotional for children and their families.  Hard copies will be made available at the church or may be downloaded here.

Operation Christmas Child – Saturday, Nov. 22

An opportunity to share the love of Christ with needy children around the world through small gift packages.

DSC07074Family Service Center – Saturday, Nov. 22 & Saturday, Dec. 27

A chance to serve a meal to families who are experiencing homelessness.  At the Operation Christmas Child packing party we will also collect unwrapped Christmas gifts that will be designated for children who are living at the center.

Advent Services – Sunday, Nov. 30 – Sunday, Dec. 21

We will mark each Sunday in Advent with special readings, music and prayers during our worship services.

Christmas Eve – Sunday, Dec. 24

A celebration of Jesus’s nativity through scripture lessons, carols, hymns, and a sermon.  There will be a special offering to benefit the Anglican Relief and Development Fund’s clean water initiative.