The last Sunday in November was the First Sunday in Advent. With the four Sundays in Advent, we are preparing, waiting, and anticipating the coming of Christ our King in three specific ways. Most common to our preparations is our focus on the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas. This preparing for the birth of the Christ child for many of us so dominates our thinking, planning, and preparing that we want to focus all our preparation solely on the birth of Jesus. In fact, for many, we lose the Advent season completely and want to jump forward into Christmas around Thanksgiving. I do not know how many times I have heard after singing a rather difficult Advent hymn people say, “Why do we have to sing these Advent hymns? Why can’t we just sing Christmas carols?”
I want to encourage us to keep the four Sundays of the season of Advent in our preparation for our Christ-mass for an important reason. You see, there are two other comings we are preparing for in the season of Advent.
The second coming we are preparing for comes as a holdover from the final days of our previous church year and the celebration of Christ the King Sunday where we focus on the goal of all history being the coming of Christ to reign as King. So, this second coming we are preparing for is the return of Christ as King whereas the Letter to the Philippians states: “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” The return of Jesus Christ as King is often referred to as the second coming or the Parousia.
The third coming that we prepare for in the season of Advent is the actual ministry of Jesus. The second and third Sundays of Advent with focus on John the Baptizer helps with that focus as he prepares the way for the coming of the ministry of Jesus. In fact, all of the Epiphany season will be an exploration of the ministry of Jesus.
Here is an important pattern I want you to see in our church liturgical year. The church year is divided up between two cycles: The Cycle of Light (Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany) and the Cycle of Life (Lent, Holy Week and the Three days, Easter, and Pentecost season). Common to both cycles is the pattern of Expectation (Advent and Lent), Fulfillment (Christmas and Easter), and Proclamation (Epiphany and Pentecost). These patterns and these seasons each have their own individual focus and important aspects of the message of God to us as Jesus Christ is revealed to us. This is why I encourage them as best we can knowing that the culture is no help to us in preparing for the birth of the Christ Child in our hearts.
Come join us on the journey as we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ the Lord.
The Story of the Week…One of the things that we, as Christians, who are people of the Book (Bible) really could use is a disciplined way for us to learn the many core Bible stories from the Scriptures. The book “Bible Stories for the Church Year” by Kristen Johnson Ingram does just that by tying Bible stories to the Sunday lectionary we use every week as part of worship. We will continue to offer a Bible story each week that is read as part of our liturgy to be learned called The Story of the Week. At some point, with more children present, we can even use these stories as the basis of children’s sermons and a Sunday School program. We plan to put out about ten copies each week and as the demand grows, we will make more copies available.
The Story of the Week for December:
December 5: Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25, 57-76)
December 12: John the Baptist Preaches (Luke 3:7-18)
December 19: The Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:39-45)
December 26: The boy Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)
January 2 – Epiphany Sunday: The coming of the Wise men (Matthew 2:1-12)
Mid-Week Bible Study…We are reading together the Gospel of Luke, which will be the Gospel starting in Advent of this year on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 am in the Fellowship Hall. If you are interested, just bring a version of the Bible you are comfortable working with. We are still in early chapters of the Gospel of Luke, so you haven’t missed much if you still would like to join us.
Thrivent Members…If you are a Thrivent member and would be interested in using your Thrivent Choice Dollars to support the ministries of Living Lord Lutheran Church, please call Pr. Klinker at 330-550-0077 or the church office. If you would be interested in using Thrivent Action Grants to help support the ministries of Living Lord, please also call Pr. Klinker or the church office. Pastor will meet with you to discuss how to go about setting up these support systems.
Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog…Pastor Larry offers you an opportunity to read your way thru Scriptures with him each day at his Bible Blog. The readings alternate between readings from an Older Testament book and then a Newer Testament book. We start the month of December reading the Older Testament book of Jeremiah’s Lamentations. Then we will read briefly the Newer Testament book of the third letter of John. Then we will start reading the Older Testament book of Ezekiel on Pastor Larry’s Bible blog online at:
http://klinkerld-pastorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/. Join us online.
Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon. You may reach him at 330-550-0077 or email him at email@example.com.