Monthly Archives: December 2016

  • Christmastide

    What is the meaning of Christmas? That is, what is it that we highlight and celebrate during Christmastide—the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany? We hear the annual refrain and exhortation to keep Christ in Christmas. But what does that mean? What about Christ are we keeping in Christmas? What is it about Christ that we highlight and proclaim during Christmas?

    It is during this time that we remember that God is with us in the person of Christ and that he is with us to save us from our sins. As Paul would put it, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us…” (Titus 3:4-5a). But is it possible that there is more to the story than just that? I am thinking of texts like Isaiah 9:6-7:

    For to us a child … Read More »

    Posted in: Knowing God
  • Advent, Part 4

    The older I get the more I am amazed at how quickly time passes. Once again I can’t believe that Christmas is so close. But it has not always been like this for me. When I was a kid it seemed like Christmas was never going to come. The waiting and anxiety were almost painful. I remember Christmas Eve being particularly taxing. It was hard to fall asleep. All I wanted was for Christmas to come.

    While not exactly a one-to-one correspondence, this is how we should feel during Advent. During Advent we experience the promise and fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan in the person and incarnation of Jesus. During Advent we look forward too, longing and hoping and waiting for the second coming of Christ.

    The anxious waiting of Advent is only intensified on this fourth and final Sunday.

    So we find … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Advent, Part 3

    …our true joy lies in the work of God and … very often this joy is found in repentance and faith.

    We have considered the way that our cultural calendars are often at odds with the church calendar and how this is especially the case during Advent. And it is especially the case when we consider the theme of Advent which is repentance and preparation. Laurence Stookey calls it a, “little lent.” In support of this, the church has historically appealed to the ministry of John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for the birth of Christ. John’s message was fundamentally a message of repentance. Thus we have prayed with the church,

    Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Advent, Part 2

    Living in a post-Christian world means that often our cultural calendars are in conflict with the church calendar. One such example of this happens every year after Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving most Americans begin to celebrate Christmas or the Christmas season as it is often called. You hear familiar carols in the mall, sales and advertising are in full swing, and gatherings of friends and families and co-workers abound. Then December 26 comes and all the decorations and Christmas talk are put away until next year. This is how we generally celebrate Christmas in our culture.

    This is not how the church celebrates Christmas. Christmas on the church calendar begins December 25 and runs for 12 days after that. Think here, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” Now you know where the 12 days of Christmas … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog