A Note From The Pastor
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is
written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger
before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one
crying in the wilderness; Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight--” (Mark 1:1-3)
This is Year B in the Lectionary. That means that we’ll have a chance to hear and read passages from the Gospel of Mark for our Gospel readings all year. But, during Advent there are only two passages that we read.
That’s because Mark (or John either) didn’t start their narratives with the birth of Jesus. Mark begins the story with John the Baptist and then jumps immediately into the ministry of Christ.
Each year during Advent we have one Sunday that focuses on John’s message of the coming ministry of the Christ. And his message was always the same: there is one coming after me whose message will be important—so wait for him and listen to him.
That’s what Advent is supposed to be about. We are to wait for the coming of Jesus our Christ and then listen to him.
I love the music and the pageantry. I love the excitement of the season. But the really important thing about Christ’s coming is the message that He brought to us. And that message can be summed up in one word – love.
Christ came because God loved the whole world. Christ loved us so much that He gave himself for us. Christ continues to love us and comfort and support us and even intervene for us with our God.
So, Advent is about waiting and hoping and listening. This month as we journey through Advent, let’s remember John and do just that: wait and hope and listen. And then the joy of Christmas will burst upon us and help us grow in love.
A Note From The Pastor
“Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days
after you have gathered the produce of your
threshing floor……Be joyful at your Feast.”
Sometimes we think we came up with ideas in our time. Thanksgiving has been a national holiday here in the United States since the 17th century. But, at nearly the same time, Canada established a holiday for giving thanks. (It’s celebrated in October.)
The Netherlands and Liberia are among other countries that celebrate days of Thanksgiving as national holidays. During the Reformation in Henry the VIII’s reign, there were days established by the church for giving thanks.
But we can go even farther back! Our Judeo-Christian heritage has times of celebration that are recorded in the laws. The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot is one that is a time of giving thanks to God for the harvest. And it’s been around for a long time.
We need to give thanks. It is a part of our faith heritage. It helps us to focus on the goodness of God. And our ancestors in faith understood that.
We need to give thanks to God. God has been with us in the past, is with us now, and will be with us in the future. And we need to give thanks for that!
So, as we celebrate the holiday here this month, let’s remember that we need to give thanks. It’s even a part of our laws of faith!
(By the way, our children have decorated a Sukka in their Sunday School classroom. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to go down the hall and take a look.)