Welcome to Advent!

By Pastor Monique-Cheri

Sunday, November 30th, marks the beginning of Advent–a season in the Christian calendar that asks us to pause and wait for the coming of the Messiah. But how do we do
that when the minute thanksgiving passes, we are ready to fall in line for black Friday sales at the crack of dawn, have already stressed out about how we don’t have enough money to buy all the obligatory gifts for all the people in our lives and may even wish the Christmas rush was over even before it’s begun. How is it that the one season that should be the easiest to celebrate as a people of faith–as Christians–is often times
the hardest. We can conspire now to do something different!

Each morning in this Advent Season of preparing to celebrate Christ’s birth, expect and become part of the miracle Jesus wants to perform this Christmas. Mike Slaughter, in A Different Kind of Christmas, writes, “In the midst of the Christmas season noise, you may think it hard to find God at the heart of the season. Yet if you listen closely, you can hear the words of Jesus: All I want for Christmas, my birthday, is for you to remember the poor, reach the lost, and set the oppressed free.”

This Advent, let’s give Jesus what he wants by giving those things that please him. Give simple gifts of love this season; simple gifts of generosity to those who are in need.

Jesus has a wish list. It involves feeding, clothing, housing and visiting those who are in need. Join the Christmas Conspiracy by giving the gifts that gladden Christ’s heart.

Here is the Christmas challenge. Whatever you spend on family and friends this Christmas, give the same amount to help people in need. For example, donate to Heifer Project, or Imagine No Malaria. Give to Habitat for Humanity. Join the Christmas Conspiracy. Give so that others might live!

Let’s arrive on Christmas Day with extraordinary joy! Take time each morning to replenish and renew your connection to and awareness of Christ. Here are four practices that will enhance your Advent preparation: Daily read and reflect upon the Advent Devotional that you receive at worship. Practice gratitude throughout the day Shop for Jesus’ wish list, not your own. Right now, commit to the miracle Jesus wants to perform this Advent Season through you.

Jesus’ birthday will be here in a few weeks. Let our preparations begin!