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Advent Expectations I – Hope

 

“Comfort, O Comfort O my people…” – Isaiah 40:1

One year. Hard to believe, but it has been one year since I started doing my almost-weekly missives. Simply by the default of the Christian calendar, you’ve come to know them as “Pentecost Ponderings” but they started out in December 2015 as “Advent Expectations.” If you’re interested, the original one can be found here:

Advent Expectations at St. Matthew’s – Advent 1

Initially this started more as a “let’s do this for Advent and see where it goes.” A year later and we are into a new cycle, familiar themes and yet with a new layer of experiences. For many of us, a lot has happened over the past year, some of it good, some of it far more challenging than we ever expected. As Christmas approaches, Advent is the reminder of the light in the darkness, the word of comfort in those times of trial. The words of the prophet from Isaiah 40 came at a time when the people of Israel lived in exile, as refugees or prisoners, either unwelcome or captive, with their homes in ruins, and a meaningful future was much in doubt.

These were not sentimental words to make them feel good about themselves, but rather to share with a people who were in the midst of a dark time that there is still hope. It was a defiant stand against the powers-that-be, to say that the life circumstances that were weighing down on the people would not be the final say. God wasn’t finished with them, and there was more to come.

It was a transformational moment in the history of a tiny, almost insignificant group of people. Instead of being wiped from the history books, these powerful words would go on through more than a hundred generations and would change the world for the better. In the ebbs and flows of history, Isaiah’s words of comfort are the strongest in the midst of darkness and uncertainty, reminding us that God’s love, God’s presence, and God’s comfort are there, and nothing can change that.

My hope for us for this Advent, is if we find ourselves overwhelmed by the darkness, may we be reminded of the power of lighting a single candle, and watch the darkness flee.

Yours in Christ,

John

 

Upcoming Events

  • Silent Auction
    • Our Silent Auction is now underway! The bidding period is from November 20th through December 11th. Items in the auction will be on display at our annual Christmas Dinner, but are also on display on the church’s website.
  • Christmas Dinner
    • Coming up on December 3rd at the church. Doors open at 5:30pm with the dinner being served at 6pm.
    • Tickets are still available and on sale through Wendy Knudson through the office this week.
  • Vivaldi Gloria
    • The Fourth Sunday of Advent welcomes the Amici Strings and guest soloists to join the choir as Antonio Vivaldi’s classic “Gloria” forms the centrepiece of the worship service. Please mark this on your calendars!
  • Christmas Eve Worship Services
    • We are holding two worship services on Christmas Eve. The first is at 7pm, and will feature several anthems from the choir, as well as an opportunity for the Children who are present to participate in a short come-as-you-are telling of the Christmas story. The second service, at 11pm, is a quieter candlelight communion.
  • Congregational Membership Classes
    • If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am hoping to run a membership class in the next few months. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.

Church Office Hours

  • Wendy’s regular office hours are Mondays, 11am-3pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday from 9am-3pm.
  • My regular office hours during the day are Sunday through Thursdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Pastoral care visits and community meetings sometimes require that I be out of the office from time to time during those hours.

 

 

 

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