In December 1903, after many attempts, Orville and Wilbur Wright were successful in getting their "flying machine" off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine: "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas." Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, "How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas." He totally missed the big news: Man had flown!
Entering the month of December brings us into the season of the church called Advent. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming.” This season celebrates the coming of Jesus into the world 2,000 years ago and the anticipation of His coming again to earth.
Similarly to Katherine Wright’s encounter with the newspaper editor, I think it is possible with all the commercialization of the holidays today to miss Christmas’ true meaning—that God came to earth as a baby born into humble means. Jesus chose to leave the glory of heaven and to spend 33 years living among human beings, sharing with them the love of God and the teachings of the New Covenant. What a great gift the incarnation is. If you recall the stewardship message from Oct. 28 and the Generosity Staircase, the coming to earth by God generated a response of humans to be generous in the offering of our lives also. The greatest gift of love and the coming of Christ to earth stirs within us the desire to reciprocate by loving God and loving others. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
I encourage you to thoroughly read this issue of MarvinLife and prayerfully consider putting on your family calendar the events you plan to participate in during Advent. Inside, you will find information regarding special musical events, worship services, missional opportunities and occasions for fellowship that will enhance your Advent and Christmas celebrations. Please pay particular attention to the worship plans and times as we celebrate Christ’s birth. Christmas Eve is on Monday this year, and like last year, we have planned the family Christmas celebration to occur on the Sunday morning before Christmas at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary. Christmas Eve service times are also a little different this year.
As we walk through the Advent season to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth, our all-campus sermon series will focus on the steps that usually occur when we prepare for the birthday celebration of a person we love. We usually make decisions about how we desire to celebrate—we prepare; we work up an invitation list of those we would like to have at the event, we invite, we decide carefully the gifts that we desire to give, we secure the gifts, and lastly, we enjoy the celebration. I look forward to sharing in this journey of messages with the congregation.
On a different note, I would like to thank all of the leaders in the church who have served faithfully this year in various roles to help us experience a great year of ministry and accomplish a successful stained glass window campaign through the Eternal Flame Fund. The window restoration is scheduled to begin in January.
Together, the work of Christ continues. This is all made possible through everyone’s faithful commitment to a God who loved us so much that He came to earth and gave His life for us. Now that is a story that needs to be told and celebrated.