December 7, 2015 – Advent II
“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” –Malachi 3:1
As many of you have gotten to know, one of my many hobbies is astronomy. If nothing else, it is a discipline to get me to look up and not get so engrossed in my own “busy.” This morning, if you had the opportunity to see it before sunrise, you might have noticed a very bright star close to the moon. That’s Venus, our closest planetary neighbour, sometimes referred to as Earth’s evil twin because of its completely inhospitable environment. Venus is also known as the morning or evening star, and is mentioned a handful of times in both Hebrew and New Testament scripture. Today, as I write this, the moon is passing in front of Venus, and because it is located so close to the moon, it is possible to actually see Venus in the daytime. Normally, with the sun so bright in the day, Venus gets lost in the glare. So it was something special to be able to see.
One reason that Christians in the 4th Century began marking Advent was to remind ourselves that we can too often miss the echoes of God in life. Christmas is about God coming and living and being among us in Christ, and yet as the gospel of John reminds us that “he was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.” Advent became a time to try to recognize those moments where God appears and works in our lives, and yet we don’t recognize it. One big reason for it is that we are so often in the midst of our own “busy” that we don’t allow ourselves the time to see Christ in our midst. I think that’s why Advent is particularly special, because it is a deliberate attempt to slow down, to open ourselves up to God. As the beloved Christmas carol that really isn’t a Christmas carol reminds us, “let every heart prepare him room!”
I want to thank everyone who was able to stay for yesterday’s session for discerning God’s vision for us at St. Matthew’s. The pieces are coming together, and like in our Advent time, let’s listen to what God is calling us to be, and to recognize what God is already doing. Our third session will be approximately mid-January, so watch this space!
During the season of Advent and beyond, I will be sending weekly emails and reflections. You may also check out our website at http://www.st-matthews-uc.org for recent sermons, updates, and reflections.
Yours in Christ,
Events to Remember
- Tuesday, December 8th, A Reminder to Board Members of our Meeting at 7:30pm
- Sunday, December 13th, 3rd Sunday in Advent
- Sunday, December 20th, 4th Sunday in Advent – Choir Service
- Every year David Ferguson and the choir puts on a special service of music. We have invited some students from the Amici Strings who will share their talents along with the choir.
- Christmas Eve
- Early Service 7pm. Featuring “Would it Still Be Christmas” which will have an opportunity for all children who come to dress up and participate in the Christmas Story. There will also be several musical offerings from our choir, and as a first for this year, hot chocolate in the lobby/narthex area following the service!
- Late Night Communion 11pm. For a quieter more meditative service, featuring the lovely voice of Laura Brandt, wife of our Organist/Pianist Evan Mounce.
Christmas Office Hours
- The Office will be closed from December 25th to 29th, and January 1st.