Pastors' Corner

Preparing for Christmas During Advent

In December, we will be observing Advent, a season of four weeks
when we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of Jesus the
Christ at Christmas. The word “Advent” means “coming” – it is a season of
preparing for the coming of Christ to earth. During this season, we read
verses from the prophets who foretold of the Christ’s coming in ancient
times. We light candles, one for each week of the Advent season. As the
days grow darker and colder, Advent symbolically reminds us that God is
shining his light into our troubled and fallen world.

All that is shrouded in the darkness of sin, suffering, violence, fear and
death will soon be flooded with the light of Christ’s love and redemption.

Advent prepares us once again for Christ’s first coming to earth as a humble
baby born in a manger. Yet, Advent also points forward to Christ’s second coming,
when he will come in judgment and triumph. Advent reminds us that we are living
in this sometimes painful period between Christ’s first and second coming – the
“already” and the “not yet.” We affirm that Christ is already present with us, yet the
world is still clearly not as it ought to be. We hear stories on the evening news
about mass shootings, terrorist attacks, devastating natural disasters, and threats of
war. We see that our society is still bitterly divided over cultural and political
issues. Advent is a season that gives us hope that God is working to put the world
right – bringing his kingdom fully here on earth as it is in heaven. Advent reminds
us that God did not leave us alone in our troubled world, but sent his only Son, Jesus
the Christ to redeem and heal us. Advent gives us hope as we wait for the Lord’s full
redemption at the end of the age. Advent also gives us the courage to act on this
hope, working for goodness and justice in our world, advancing God’s kingdom until
it comes in fullness.

A contemporary Advent hymn proclaims, “Though dark the winter and
cheerless, the rising sun shall crown you with light. Be strong and loving and
fearless!” Jesus, the Light of the world has come, and is indeed coming again! May
this give you hope and courage this Advent season and always.


Pastor Hilary Livingston

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