December 1: “Managing Un-expectations” Matthew 24:36-44
Key verse: Matt 24:44 – “[Jesus says] Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Key words: prophecy (Jesus prophesies his own arrival!!), watchfulness, readiness
Theme: Jesus, close to the end of his earthly life, prophesies
another beginning. Jesus, the Messiah, tells the people to watch out for the Messiah. An excellent introduction to the Advent theme of past and future colliding in the present and the difficulty of living in expectation while not being quite sure what to expect.
December 8: “We Work While We Wait” Matthew 3:1-12
Key verse: Matt 3:2 – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Key words: Promise, strength, hope, readiness, repentance
Theme: We journey backwards to before Jesus’ baptism, to John the Baptist prophesying the Messiah’s coming – a Messiah
already here. Now is the time to get right with God, to prepare ourselves for the kingdom that is coming, the kingdom already here.
December 15: “Hope in the King” Matthew 11:2-11 Special Advent Music Sunday
Key verse: Matt 11:3 – [John in prison asks] “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
Key words: Joyful repentance, fulfillment, hope
Theme: The ministry of John the Baptist is validated in Christ. The hopes in John’s heart are fulfilled in the statements of Jesus, the one the world had been waiting for – who was, who is, who is to come. Our hearts quicken and expectations rise as the time of Christ’s appearance draws closer.
December 22: “A Surprise Adoption” Matthew 1:18-25
Key Verse: Matt 1:20 – “But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Key words: Trust, faith, Christmas
Theme: What about Joseph? Here we have the more rarely-read birth narrative from Matthew, focused on the choices of Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. What can his awkward circumstance tell us about keeping the faith, trusting even when we do not
December 24: “Hope Has Arrived” Luke 2:1-20
5:30 p.m. Candlelight Communion Worship Service
Key verse: Luke 2:10-11 – “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a
Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Key words: Christmas, watchfulness, peace, love, hope, joy
Theme: The shepherds were awake to receive the good news, while the rest of the world was asleep. Let us open our eyes to the truth of God with us, seeing and living in that hope, even when others do not.
December 25: “Hope-filled Abundance”
10:30 a.m. Communion Worship Service