Category: Christmas (Page 2 of 3)

Advent #2 Peace

Tomorrow is the second Sunday of Advent. At the GCR Church here in Midland, Jordan and Rachel and their precious kids and Rachel’s parents, Dale and Penny, will lead us in our reading and the lighting of the second candle.¬† It’ll be an intergenerational blessing for our whole congregation! I’m posting the scripts in this space each Saturday. I invite you to practice this in your own church or small group setting or use these words to guide your own thoughts and conversations with our Lord.

Peace
Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle that represents peace.
Today we are reminded that Christ Jesus is the only source of true peace.
And he is coming.
We resolve to make peace in our families and in this community of faith.
We pray for the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and in this world.
And we prepare to welcome God’s peace on earth and into our lives and relationships.

Isaiah 2:3-5

Advent #1 Hope

Tomorrow we begin the Advent season together with our church at GCR, preparing for and looking forward to the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. Bryce and Paige Williams and their three precious kids will lead us in our thoughts and the reading from Scripture. I will provide our weekly scripts and readings in this space each week.

Hope
Today we light the first candle of Advent, the candle that reminds us of our hope.
Today we enter a season of repentance and preparation for our hope to be made real in Christ.
We remember Israel’s covenant hope for the coming of God’s promised Messiah.
We remember our covenant hope for the promised second coming of Jesus.
And we prepare to welcome Christ Jesus into the world and into our hearts.

Titus 2:11-14

Candles, Carols, and… Snow!

Christmas Eve in Midland this year means clear skies, sunshine, and a forecasted high temperature in the mid 80s. And snow!

It’s become a GCR tradition to provide man-made synthetic¬† snow to add to the atmosphere surrounding our Christmas Eve service. Brandon and Tim have been putting everything together this week and made a bucketful of the white stuff for us to sample. It’s room temperature, it won’t stick or make snowballs, but it does look and feel like snow. Add it to the brass quartet in the courtyard and the carriage rides around the building, and it makes for a really special setting for a really special evening.

I’m personally excited for this Christmas Eve service. We always had one while I was preaching at Legacy, but we didn’t do it the ten years we were at Central. I’ve missed it. The candles, the Christmas hymns, the Advent wreath, the little kids, the special videos and communion meal, seeing everybody’s families and meeting new folks – all in celebration of the coming into this world of the light of Christ, the eternal light that gives life to all people!

If you’re anywhere in West Texas on Friday, I invite you to join us for this special Christmas Eve blessing at Golf Course Road Church. You can play in the snow and enjoy the family-friendly activities outdoors beginning at 3pm and then come inside for the worship service that starts at 4pm. And when you leave, be sure to take one of the free books we’re giving away to every family who attends.

By the way, we made the decision on Monday to switch from serving hot chocolate to serving a cold punch. Good call.

Merry Christmas!

Allan

Fifth Candle – CHRIST

This is the liturgy we’re using during our Christmas Eve service at GCR this Friday when we light the final candle of the Advent wreath. The candlelight service begins at 4:00 Friday afternoon.

Today we light the center candle of Advent, the candle that symbolizes the coming into this world of Jesus Christ.
This candle is white, to represent purity and the light that now shines into the darkness.
Jesus is born. Jesus has come. Jesus is God with us.
Jesus is our eternal hope. Our surpassing peace. Our everlasting joy. And the unequaled source of all love.
Christ reigns at the center of God’s salvation history. And he reigns at the center of our redeemed lives and of this community of faith.

Colossians 1:12-14

Peace,

Allan

Christmas Revolution

As children of God, we know we’re called to imitate God and join him in doing the kind of work he is doing. Jesus came to this earth to show us the Father, to reveal to us God’s will and God’s ways. We look to Jesus to know how to think and act, how to believe and behave. We know how to do this – in theory anyway. We do it all the time.

We look at Jesus’ life and we say, “Yeah, we need to serve others. We need to feed the hungry and heal the sick and comfort the suffering.”

We study Jesus’ death and we decide, “Yes, we need to be sacrificial. We need to bear the burdens of those around us. We need to forgive others unconditionally.”

We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and we say, “Yes, we, too, are living a brand new life in Christ. Everything’s changed now. We see the whole world differently now and we leave our sins behind and take bold risks for the Kingdom because we know we’ll never die.”

You know, the birth of Jesus also reveals God to us. We know much more about the will and the ways of our Father when we consider carefully the birth of his Son. The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus shows us what God is doing and how he’s doing it. And it teaches us, it trains us, to join him in that work.

Mary’s song in Luke 1 tells us that the birth of Jesus is radical. Her Christmas song is a song about revolution. The coming of the Christ is about wrecking the structures and systems of this world and restoring an all-new Kingdom of God.

Her song claims that Jesus’ birth scatters the proud, brings down rulers, lifts up the humble, feeds the hungry, and heals the sick. When Almighty God comes to us as a baby in a barn, he is overthrowing the world’s order and society’s hierarchies and chains of command. He’s destroying the gap between the rich and the poor and breaking down all the barriers between us.

Jesus is born in Bethlehem to show us that we all belong to the same family. We’re all equally lacking and equally blessed. Together. Look at the manger scene in the Gospels. Young and old, rich and poor, male and female, blue collar shepherds and professional scholars, Jews and Gentiles – when Jesus is born, everybody’s in the picture! The angels announce that the good news of great joy is for all the people! God with us means God with all of us!

So what does this mean for disciples of Jesus right now?

It means we don’t play into the world’s games of dividing people according to gender or race or national politics or who somebody voted for or whatever else divides people today. We don’t get sucked into the name-calling and self-righteous judging of others. That is decidedly un-Christlike behavior. It’s un-Godly.

We concentrate on bringing into the Kingdom the outsiders, the foreigners, the poor, the sick, even our enemies. Enemies of our comfort zones. Enemies of our decency and order. Enemies of our property values. Enemies of our traditions. Why? Because when we were God’s enemies he sent his holy Son to this earth as a human baby in order to save us.

God with us means us with God. And that means we don’t strive for anything less.

Peace,

Allan

Fourth Candle – LOVE

Each Tuesday in this space I am posting the coming Sunday’s Advent liturgy we’ll be using here at GCR.

Today we light the fourth candle of Advent, the candle that represents love.
This candle is purple, to remind us of the royalty of our coming King; it symbolizes the eternal power and authority of Jesus. But this week of Advent is about love.
The eternal love of our heavenly Father who sent his Son to restore us and all of creation.
The sacrificial love of Christ Jesus who left his home in glory to save us from our sins.
And the selfless love we share with one another as a result of the redeeming work of Christ.

John 3:16-17

Peace,
Allan

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