We are grateful for our time together on The Advent Way. We hope this worship series, rooted in the book of Isaiah and Matthew’s Gospel, invites reflection on how the Advent way prepares us for the beauty and mystery of Christmas.
Our privilege as Christians is to receive the gracious gifts of God’s presence in Christ. Our task is to prepare for his coming so that we will not miss life’s greatest gift.
Outline of The Advent Way
Read the passage from Matthew 1.18-25.
Aaron Kline writes “American culture and media both load Christmas with false expectations of family harmony and good cheer. These images and expectations allow Hallmark and the shopping mall catalog to define the “perfect Christmas.” In the weeks before Christmas, many who worship in our congregations invest a great deal of time and energy trying to achieve that picture – perfect Christmas. Others feel emptiness or sadness that their lives and families prevent them from having the sort of Christmas they believe they should have. In today’s story of Mary and Joseph, God’s work often upsets comfortable social exportations and conventions. The first Christmas was not produced by a flawless lead-up and elaborate preparations dictated by convention. Certainly most people would not expect the incarnation to happen through the life of the young virgin girl, Mary. Many in our congregations forget just what a scandal the incarnation and the virgin birth really were, that behind the pretty nativity scene lies both a wonder and a scandal.”” (Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 1, 92).
Consider you own experience of Christmas. As Joseph learned, the faithful way to “be” and the faithful thing to “do” are often at odds with social convention.
In what ways have you failed to live up to the notion of the “perfect Christmas” and in what ways, despite that, have you ended up finding yourself more graced and faithful than you might have expected.