All I Want for Christmas Is…

   Advent is a gift from God to us. It is a time of preparation, anticipation, and expectation, not unlike the long 450-year period between the closing remarks of the prophet Malachi, and the moment the angels brought the wonderful news of the world’s Savior to a band of shepherds outside Bethlehem.

   God has such a great sense of humor! Here the people were awaiting some superhero dropping from the sky to save them, or at least some sort of king or mighty military leader who would equip them and lead them into glorious victory over their oppressors, when God did the completely unexpected.

   While people were watching the front gate of the royal palace, God entered our lives through the back door of history, as a vulnerable baby born in a barn!

   I am afraid that quite often we rob ourselves of the anticipation and excitement of waiting for Christmas when we get so caught up in the busyness of the season. Our family enjoys the tradition of an Advent calendar, where, beginning December 1, we open up one little door, window, or frame to reveal an image of Christmas underneath it, until, finally, December 24 arrives, Christmas Eve, when the biggest window can be opened and a manger scene is displayed.

   Yes, most people count the days until Christmas, but it is often only in terms of how many shopping days are left. Every year it seems that the first harbingers of Christmas come earlier and earlier, and every year more and more people find that the joy and true spirit of the Advent and Christmas season eludes them.

   Advent begins the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving, November 28. We will begin the season with celebrating Holy Communion on that first Sunday in Advent. The theme for this year’s Advent and Christmas season is All I want for Christmas is… . Each Sunday we will explore a different aspect surrounding the birth of Christ:

       November 28: All I want for Christmas is … HOPE

       December 5: All I want for Christmas is … PEACE

       December 12: All I want for Christmas is … JOY

       December 19: Children’s Christmas Pageant during service

       December 24: Christmas Eve Service at 7 p.m.

       December 26: Music and Worship Service

   I look forward to this season of Advent. I look forward the unexpected moments when we can simply take a deep breath and have time to prepare our hearts, anticipate, and expect the unexpected.

   I pray for a restful and peaceful season of Advent, and I wish all of us the best of a blessed Christmas.

       Pastor Daniel Hofmann