A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Welcome Advent, Welcome Christmas

The earth is completing its stately stroll around our sun once again. The days grow short, the nights long, and the weather … in even more leisurely fashion … turns crisp, then cold. Together we welcome in a new Advent season. We are reminded again this year of how much God loves humanity, so much so that he sent Jesus to tell us so, and to show us how to best love each other. All over the world this season, whether living in countries heading into cold or hot weather, Christians are reminded that Jesus changed our world for the better. During Advent we are called to remember what has been done for us and to look ahead toward the day when Jesus will return and usher in a reign of peace and justice for everyone.

We focus on hope, peace, joy, and love this season. We light candles to remind us to let these four vital and enduring motions grow within us. We are called to share them with others we meet, to spread the Gospel good news in all we say and do. We are called to be light in the darkness for everyone. We are called to be the soothing messenger who speaks and acts with hope, peace, joy, love, especially as things turn hectic before Christmas, as they always do. Be especially kind to all the people out there who are struggling during this season, those who have lost loved ones, who are struggling with illness for themselves or those they love, for all who are trying their best to help us as we once again seek those perfect gifts and meals, those Norman Rockwell moments that become oh so important this time of year as in no other season. Be patient with those who seem forgetful or distracted. Perhaps they are recovering from COVID, which I can assure you leaves you mightily forgetful and distracted. As I regularly tell the children, we have an opportunity each and every moment of each and every day to be a blessing or a curse in someone else’s life. Let’s all be blessings, given in abundance, during the season where we are reminded how much Jesus has given for us.

The older I get, the more I love the lights that shine in the darkness. I cannot get enough of those multicolored Christmas lights in all their inventive shapes and forms. Little ones, big ones, bubbling ones, twinkling ones and everything in between. They are a fantastic representation for us shining in the dark of uncertainty and fear in troubled times. We come large and small too, some bubbling with enthusiasm, others twinkling with mirth. Let us be those little lights that shine, as the hymn says, during this holiday season. Let us be the lights that draw in the lost and troubled wanderers, bringing them into the light and love of Christ as well as the light and love of our blessed community at First-Calvary Baptist Church.

Wishing us all the blessings of this Advent and Christmas season. Merry Christmas everyone.
~Pastor Jeff

Note: The lights and ornaments pictured above were taken on our Christmas tree last year in our home