Abundance in Advent

Brothers and sisters,

By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will already be over. I would imagine your fridges will be full of food, your shopping carts full of Black Friday deals, and/or your TV full of football games. Thanksgiving is a time of year that reminds so many of us Americans of the fullness there is to life. It is a season associated with abundance and bounty leading into the Christmas season.

In light of that, though, I want to be sure to remind us all that Advent is also a time of abundance. We typically think of it as a season of waiting, of anticipation—and it is! —but it is also a time when we remind ourselves of the love of God that pours over all of Creation. That love was so abundant that God chose to come and live among us, to take on flesh and be a part of our world. God came to us in the per-son of Jesus Christ and experienced all that it means to be human, to be one of us.

In response to that abundance, to that love, and to all the human experiences Christ had, we at Hope Valley Baptist Church have planned many different special services this year. I want to be sure to run through all of them with you and give you an idea of what we’re planning this season.

The first special service will be on Sunday, December 3rd during morning worship. It will be our annual Hanging of the Greens service as we mark the beginning of the Advent season. The Hanging of the Greens is a beautiful service in which we, as a church, finish decorating our sanctuary. It is an intentional service in which we remind ourselves why we do the things we do during Advent and what they say about our faith.

The second special service is our Service of Lament. This will be on Wednesday, December 6th at 6:30 pm in the church sanctuary. The Service of Lament is a unique service that carves out space for those of us who are mourning or carrying grief through the holidays. It is a service that reminds folks that even if they do not feel particularly joyful right now, the church has room for them.

Our third special service will be our annual musical service on Sunday, December 17th at 5:00 pm in our church sanctuary. This year, it is entitled, “Let There Be Christmas,” and it promises to be a beautiful, joyful service that sings out the wonder, the joy, and the beauty of this season. In addition to wonderful music, there will be delicious food served at a reception immediately following in the Fellowship Hall.

Finally, we will be having our Christmas Eve Candlelight and Communion Service this year on Sunday, December 24th at 5:00 pm in our sanctuary. I love this service. It is a time for all of us to come together as a church family on the most exciting night of the year—the night when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is a service filled with joy, with singing, with the celebration of communion, and finally with the lighting of candles. Be sure to bring your family with you as we come together as a church family in celebration of all God has done for us.

So, there you have it. Love. Grief. Joy. Celebration. This year, our special services look to tell one overarching thing—God is with us, always. The love of God is abundant in this season.

What good news!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben