The season of Advent begin on Sunday, December 1st. Advent includes the four Sundays prior to Christmas. This Advent Resurrection Lutheran Church is participating in the Advent Conspiracy. Too often the season of Advent is a whirlwind of gift-buying and party-preparation that misses out on the centrality of Jesus’ birth. The Advent Conspiracy seeks to reinvigorate the purpose of the season by refocusing our attention on Jesus.
The Advent Conspiracy (AC) was started by church pastors several years ago as a way to keep Jesus central during this hectic season. (You can read about it here)
As the AC states
We all want our Christmas to be a lot of things. Full of joy. Memories. Happiness. Above all, we want it to be about Jesus. What we don’t want is stress. Or debt. Or feeling like we “missed the moment”. Advent Conspiracy is a movement designed to help us all slow down and experience a Christmas worth remembering. But doing this means doing things a little differently. A little creatively.
The four Sundays of Advent each have a special focus.
Christmas marks the moment where God’s promise was fulfilled and love took form, tiny fingers and all. It is a moment that deserves our full attention and praise. We put Worship Fully as AC’s first tenet because we believe the level of our involvement at Christmas is based entirely on how much we are celebrating Christ’s birth. He deserves celebration; one that is creative, loud and directs every heart His way.
For Resurrection we are delighted to welcome Dr. Michael Chan back as he preaches on Daniel 3 and the trust and power of worship.
The other three themes (which will have separate blog posts in the coming weeks) are
What do you appreciate about the season of Advent?
Lord Jesus, deepen my love for you and your people throughout the season of Advent.
Advent comes during the dark cold month of December. The sun hangs low in the Minnesota sky and frequent storms race across the prairie. This past Sunday a 15 inch snowfall disrupted our daily lives. During this season we often hanker for some warmth and light, some good cheer. The world seems ready to collapse and die.
In Advent, I am reminded of Jesus’ words,
There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:25-28)
Jesus experienced the broken, destructive shadows of creation. He knew the despair we can slip into. Yet he would not let us go. It’s as if we are on a long sea voyage and terrible storms are smashing our ship. The storms of sickness, violence, neglect, sin and death cause us to despair. Why celebrate Christmas when the world appears to be so harsh, cold and cruel? But the present storms are not the end of the story, only a temporary part in God’s glorious story of safe passage. Even as the seas roar, our safe harbor in Jesus is drawing near. A safe harbor called Bethlehem.
Lord Jesus, you gave us a glorious promise that someday your whole creation will be made new again. Grant us the faith to trust in your promise and the everlasting hope to live by your power. Raise our heads high and let us sing your praise with energetic joy today. Amen.
This week is filled with colorful adjectives: Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Somehow Sunday was skipped. Perhaps we could name it Stir-up Sunday (from Bishop Larry Wohlrabe). He is remembering the prayer for the first Sunday in Advent:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and come. Protect us by your strength and save us from the threatening danger of our sins, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Lutheran Book of Worship, p.13)
The prayer is based on Psalm 80:1 -2.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! Stir up your might and come to save us.
I certainly could use some of that stir-up power.