Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. We will light the candle of Hope and remember that in the midst of darkness and fear, with the birth of the Christ Child, hope was born. We pray hope will be born in our hearts we prepare for Christmas 2018. Of course, we are also decorating our houses, shopping for presents, planning all the cooking that needs to be done while fitting in a few parties.

A friend of mine, Reverend Michael Piazza, wrote this week, “It is easy to forget in the busyness, that Christmas is a Holy day, not a secular holiday. As people of faith, we have an obligation to consider how we live during this season. Our lifestyle ought to be distinctive from those for whom this is simply an excuse for parties and gift giving. How we live may be an honest reflection of whether we have faith in the true reason for the season. Are we devoted to the One whose coming we celebrate, or are we like those just filling the malls and restaurants, drinking and toasting?” Reverend Piazza makes an astute observation while raising an important question? Advent is a season of spiritual preparation, so how are you going to prepare your soul? The Advent sermons this year will be my attempt to help each of us answer that question.

I know we have parties to go to or to host, but remember that worship is a spiritual party on Sunday mornings. Skipping church during Advent really does speak to what we value about the season. Someone said, “It’s like throwing a birthday party, but not inviting the One whose birthday it is.”

I invite you to join us in worship starting with this First Sunday of Advent. I pray I can help you prepare your soul for a renewed coming of the Christ Child. This week’s theme is HOPE and my sermon will be “Preparing For Hope,” based on Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:36-44.

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