I cannot believe that we’re already moving into the Christmas season. Maybe it’s because of the unusually warm weather that we had pretty much all through fall, but I’m not really ready for the move into Christmas. For crying out loud, I’m still digesting the turkey I ate yesterday! But here we are. We are moving into what Christians call “Advent.” Advent is the official beginning of our worship year, so maybe I should also add, “Happy New Year!” Though I don’t want to rush through another holiday…
In the early church, Christians mainly centered their lives upon two main events: Christmas and Easter. These two events, of the incarnation and of the resurrection, became markers that people could orient themselves towards. By remembering and repeating these cycles in the year, Christians could begin to tell the story of God. Last week, we talked about the importance of our stories, and we know that our stories are just blips in the greater story of God. The incarnation represents many things to many folks.
Advent is a season of hope, of expectation, and of waiting. During this time, we remember the longing for deliverance from evil and oppression experienced by the ancient Jews and the anticipation (and expectation) of the Kingdom of God breaking in on their (and our) behalf.
Like a child who loves to have a story read over and over again, we reclaim the powerful saving events of Christmas by telling them once again; it’s the story of God’s love breaking into our reality in the person of Jesus.
I’m so excited to begin the Advent season with you all. We will be following along in the Vineyard USA pamphlet that Dan Wilt helped to put together for all the Vineyards across the country. Much of what I included in this post was courtesy of the booklet that you all can pick up at church. This Sunday, he will introduce our series as we work through the Gospel of John!
This Advent, we are going to talk about our hearts. Something that we talk a lot about at our church is the idea of disenchantment. We get burned out by church, hurt by life, and calloused. But the good news of God is that he desires all of us. It’s with his love that our hearts are changed. As Augustine writes, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Our hearts are searching for something; they’re looking for a place to call home.
Our hearts have a home in our Father’s house. And this house is a place where people who are different can live in harmony, and where those who have orphaned themselves through sin and fear can find welcome and restoration. This is the hope that we have in Christ.