ADVENT 2019
Narrowing Down, Focusing In

“Narrowing down, focusing in,” says the author Isabel Anders in Awaiting the Child: An Advent Journal. What she means by the phrase is two-fold. She calls us during the Advent season to contemplate the beauty of the birth, the child born for us. Simultaneously, she also asks us, during the season, to “narrow down, focus in” on the promised second coming of the Christ child, the Lord of life. Essentially, Anders calls us to ponder the birth while considering a day when God will bring about a new creation fully realized.

We will be considering Anders’s call to listen to Advent’s dual themes of birth and rebirth during both our midweek worship services and our Sunday adult education. We will explore the wondrous paradox of God in the flesh and God the ruler of the universe. As a congregation, we have historically employed the Advent season for good and wondrous purposes. This year, “narrowing down, focusing in,” we will use the Advent season to listen deeply, pray faithfully, and, amidst all of December’s gods, quiet our souls in the child born to die, born to be raised, born to set us free.

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Sunday Adult Education
9:30 a.m. in the Life Together Hall

Sunday, December 1, 2019
1 Peter 1:12-21
Narrowing Down, Focusing In: Pay Attention
The author of First Peter believes his death is imminent. Simultaneously, it is his belief that he is received as an “eyewitness of Christ’s majesty” to remind his audience of the voice heard from the holy mountain. During our adult education time today, we will explore mortality, faith, and a hoped for future, reminding one another of the confident hope we live in and by.

Sunday, December 8, 2019
John 1:1-5, 14-18
Narrowing Down, Focusing In: Incarnation
As Isabel Anders accentuates the themes of incarnation and hoped for divine presence in the flesh; as she probes the themes of birth and rebirth, God in Christ entering time, God in Christ at the end of time; she would remind us today of the mystery and marvel of God deep in the flesh. As she prepares herself to give birth, she ponders the Virgin’s womb and the Word of creation residing in the flesh of Mary, the God-bearer. And in this child we would experience the heart of God.

Sunday, December 15, 2019
Revelation 21:1-6; 22:16-20
Narrowing Down, Focusing In: Christ Coming Again
As we arrive on this Third Sunday in Advent, and draw closer to the Celebration of the Incarnation, we do so with an eye toward the future. Awakened by Advent’s hope, we cling to the promise of Christ coming again in glory. Such a coming, anticipated by a babe born to die, is our source of confidence in the current moment. Advent waiting is fraught with holy expectations and allows us to “narrow down and focus in” on the importance amidst the exceedingly unimportant.

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Advent Midweek Worship
7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Romans 15:4-13
Narrowing Down, Focusing In: A Call to Hope
At this evening’s Advent midweek gathering we will hear from the compelling voice of the Apostle Paul a call to hope. The scriptures are written for encouragement that “we might have hope,” says the Apostle. Our hope in Christ Jesus is from birth to rebirth to death to rebirth in a resurrection promise. As a community of faith living into such hope we strive for justice, peace, and harmony.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Luke 1:10-15 • Luke 1:26-30 • Matthew 28:1-6
Narrowing Down, Focusing In: Do Not Be Afraid
As we ponder the Incarnation during this season of Advent, as well as the “promised coming again,” we hear the word of the angel to Zechariah, to Mary, to the woman at the tomb, each alarmed—“Do not be afraid.” As an Incarnation/Resurrection people, we are often perplexed and fearful in a world seemingly bent on it’s own destruction. Fear seems at the center of people’s lives these days. The angelic word during this midweek worship is a word spoken for our hearts today. Living in a confident hope, our faith dispels the fear-laden world we live in and brings us peace as the storms are quieted, peace as we narrow down and focus in.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
1 Corinthians 15:12-26
Narrowing Down, Focusing In: The Light That Shines
As we prepare the way of the Lord for both the celebration of the birth and the hoped for judgment, we trust in the light that shines in the distance but reflects on our daily lives. Such a resurrection light brings us life. Absent the same, we are surely the most to be pitied. On this, the final Advent midweek, we proclaim Christ as raised from the dead—from manger to cross to empty tomb to holy promise for a future—“Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:23). In joy we anticipate the resurrection from the dead as we proclaim he has been raised.

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Photograph by Tim Mossholder, https://unsplash.com/photos/zqDUmUtAN-w. Public domain, via Unsplash.