Greetings to our Emmanuel Family,
It is a cold, windy, and blustery day outside. And there is no doubt that Old Man Winter is doing what He can to make his presence known to us Michiganders. But that’s OK because we are a hardy group of people who are not easily depressed by less than ideal conditions, right!
Well, we have just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday and I hope each of you had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time spent with family and friends. Certainly, if each of us were to evaluate our lives we would see there is so much you and I have to be thankful to our Lord for. The list of items, if we could write them all down, would be incredible. In reality, everything we have or will ever possess comes to us as gracious and loving gifts from the hand of our Heavenly Father. And the amazing truth about it all has to do with the fact you and I do not deserve a single one of them. So, I hope each of us took some time, during our celebration of Thanksgiving, to express an attitude of gratitude to the Giver of every one of the beautiful blessings we are able to enjoy.
As we make our entrance into December we are also making a transition on the church calendar from the season of Pentecost to the beginning of a new church year and the season of Advent. Advent is to be seen as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ, both His first coming at Christmas, and His second coming at the end of the age as King, Lord, and Judge. It is only fitting then, for us as children of God and redeemed saints, to be entering this season with hearts filled with great expectation. The liturgical color for Pentecost was green which conveyed the need for each of us to grow in our faith as Christians. The color for Advent is blue and this color reflects a spirit of anticipation and hope. Yes, Jesus has already come to us once, in the flesh, to bring salvation to you, me, and all mankind. But, let us also remember He has promised to come again, in all His power and glory, to claim final victory over sin, death, and the devil, and to usher in the new heaven and the new earth. These are two wonderful things for us to prepare for and celebrate.
The Advent Series we will be using during Advent to help us prepare our hearts is titled, “Who is Jesus.” In the first lesson we learn “Jesus is the Son of David. Christ is our King!” In the second lesson we find out “Jesus is the Son of Abraham and our Son of Sacrifice.” In the third lesson of the series we see “Jesus is the Son of Solomon.” And on Christmas Eve we experience how “Jesus is the Son of Sinners.” These sermon topics appear to present some very interesting and enlightening settings for our Advent services. I hope you will take the time, over the next several weeks, to join us in God’s house for our Mid-week worship services, as together we make ourselves ready for the coming of the Christ-child, the coming of the King of Glory.
The Gospel of Luke 1:28-33 gives us some more information about who Jesus is. And the angel came to Mary and said to her, “Greetings O’ favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
For many of us this time of the year can get to be pretty hectic and stressful. There are Christmas programs and parties to attend, family gatherings and food to prepare for, travel plans and schedules to coordinate, and shopping and Christmas sales to contend with. All these things are what the world has placed on our plate to feast on. What God would like us to do is to be still for a moment and listen to His voice, a loving voice which will supply you and me with the comfort, peace, and joy we need when life gets out of hand. Dear friends in Christ all these earthly activities are merely secondary items in comparison to the Real Reason for the Christmas Season; the birth of Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem, the Savior of the world. Let us stay focused on that and everything else will work out just fine. God’s blessings to all and may each of you enjoy a blessed Advent Season and very merry Christmas celebration. Pastor McCarty