Advent is a season of waiting for the coming of God. With the weekly themes of hope, peace, joy, and love, we anticipate and attune ourselves to the reign of God embodied in Jesus. As we walk through this Advent season, you are invited to prayerfully notice the glimpses of Christ’s presence in your life and in this world God loves. Look for the characteristics of Christ present in the world: compassion, justice, tenderness, healing, restoration, and welcome of the “least of these”. Where we see “the least of these” cared for as described in Matthew 25, there we see Christ.
The Pastor, Ruling Elders, Deacons, and Staff have prepared a daily devotional booklet for Advent as a guide through this joyous season. Download as a pdf here:
Christmas Joy Offering
Each year, PC(USA) takes a denomination-wide special offering to support leaders within the church. It helps support retired pastors, Presbyterian schools and colleges, as well as support the church workers and their families. This is the Christmas Joy Offering.
First Week ~ Hope
“When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.” ~ Isaiah 64:3
On this first Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of hope. Jesus came into the world fulfilling the hope of God‘s redemptive vision. Let us worship God this week in thanksgiving for the hope that has come for all people.
Questions to Ponder
1. What is the difference between hope and want?
2. Look back on this year, what has given you hope?
3. Look ahead to this Advent and Christmas season, what are you hoping for?
4. Who could use words of encouragement and hope this week? Give that person a call or send them a little note sharing those words.
Second Week ~ Peace
“He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep” ~ Isaiah 40:11
On this second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of peace. Jesus is the longed-for “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. And at the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Christ has come into this world to offer a peace that is like nothing else. We can‘t buy it or earn it but we can receive it. Let us worship God for this incredible gift of peace.
Questions to Ponder:
1. In recent days, how have you experienced the peace of God?
2. In what ways can you bring about peace? In your home? In your community? In the world?
3. Who needs God‘s peace today? Where does the world need more peace? As you think about this, let your thoughts be your prayer and pray for others and specific places in the world that desperately need peace.
4. Is there a place in your home that could become a peaceful space for you? If so, create that space this week to enjoy during Advent and into the new year?
Third Week ~ Joy
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God” ~ Isaiah 61:10
We light the candle of joy on this third Sunday of Advent. God’s people have been joy-filled and this joy has been their strength (Nehemiah 8:10). In the midst of many different circumstances we can choose joy, trusting the words of the angel to the shepherds, “I bring you good news that will cause you great joy for all people.” (Luke 2:10) A Savior has been born, let us worship and glorify the Christ child.
Questions to Ponder:
1.How does the celebration of Jesus’ birth bring you joy?
2.In what ways is the birth of Christ good news to you?
3.Has joy been difficult to recognize lately? If so, what are some reminders that you can place around your house of the joy that is accessible to you through God?
4.Is there a neighbor that could be reminded of the joy of this season? Be intentional in expressing your joy to this neighbor and pray for an opportunity to do so.
Fourth Week ~ Love
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16
Today we light the candle of love on the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. Love came on Christmas expressed through a baby. Angels announced his birth, a bright star shone in the sky, people celebrated his humble and miraculous birth. God‘s redemptive plan, ushered in through Jesus, is offered out of love for all people. Let us praise and worship God for this love that is beyond what we can ask or imagine.
Questions to Ponder:
1. How have you experienced God‘s love recently? This Advent season? This year?
2. As Christmas day draws near, what emotions are you experiencing? How does God‘s love enhance or settle those emotions?
3. What are some ways you can remind yourself that you are loved by God? Find ways to carry out those reminders.
4. Who in your life could know or be reminded of God‘s love? Take the time this week to let that person know or spend time praying for that person.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14