December 2018/Janurary 2019
Dear Members and Friends,
Greetings in the name of the One who truly is the “reason for the season!”
The season of Advent is nearly upon us – it begins on Sunday, December 2nd. I love everything about Advent. The season encourages us, in the darkest time of the year, to lift up God’s hope, God’s love, God’s joy, and God’s peace. It is, in every way, a forward-looking season. And yet, even as we look forward and outward, there are meant to be quiet moments in which we might reflect inward, to examine how we are making ourselves – our souls, our spirits – ready for the coming of our Lord and Savior, who is the light of the world. I am a visual person, and so I really enjoy the sights of the season – the glow of the Advent candlelight, the green of the boughs and trees with which we adorn our church sanctuary and our homes, the rich, royal blue proclaiming the coming royalty of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I enjoy the music – the tunes and the words of those beloved Advent hymns that we sing in anticipation of the Christmas carols that will soon follow.
In the Advent season, we await the birth of the promised Messiah – promised by the prophets of the Old Testament, promised to Mary and to Joseph, promised to each of us who embrace our status as beloved children of God, and followers of Christ, God’s Son. As such, we know in our heads that we are “awaiting the already” – we already know what happened at the end of that very first Advent season. And yet, in our hearts, especially in such a time as this in our nation, our world, our United Methodist Church, we so often find ourselves desperately awaiting a fresh sign from God, a renewed assurance that Christ will come again in glory, that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. And so we will gather on the four Sundays of Advent, together “awaiting the already” and renewing our hope, peace, joy, and love that is found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our Advent journey will culminate in the celebration of what has already been promised to us in the child born in a manger, as we gather on Christmas Eve, in services of lessons, carols, and candlelight at 5 p.m. (with the Praise Team providing special music) and 7:30 p.m. (with the Vocal Choir and JesuBells providing special music). Our Christmas Eve services will include a special focus on the beloved Christmas Eve hymn, “Silent Night,” as we celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of its creation.
As together we celebrate another season of thanks-giving and gift-giving, Mark and I feel abundantly blessed to be walking beside you all in ministry here at Bath: Centenary UMC. We are so grateful for your loving care, concern, and support! We wish you a Blessed Advent Season, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Together in Christ’s Love and Service,