Practicing Advent

practicing adventThe hustle and bustle of the holiday season has begun. We are planning, shopping, cleaning, and wrapping. Christmas is almost here. The same can be said for the church. We just put up the Christmas trees at Westbrook. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it’s not Christmas yet. We’re in a season of waiting.

This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. You’re probably familiar with the term because of Advent Calendars that mark off the days of December leading up to Christmas. Advent is, in fact, an official season in the church calendar that begins 4 Sunday before Christmas and ends with Christmas Eve. It’s a time set aside to wait on the coming of Jesus and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christmas. We remember how Israel waited for the Messiah and recognize that we are waiting for Jesus to come and restore all things.

It’s a time of waiting and expectation, and let’s be honest, most of us are bad at waiting.  Continue reading

The Day After Christmas

Photo Credit: Val 202 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Val 202 via Compfight cc

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! [1]

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games began on February 7th and they ended on February 23rd. By the end of the month Russia, the host of the Olympic games, had invaded Ukraine. The Olympics have become widely seen as a picture of peace on earth. Instead of wars, countries send their best athletes to compete in friendly athletic events. In a strange turn of events, Russia went from hosting the Olympic games as a symbol of peace and good will to invading another country in a show of force. Continue reading