Welcome to my "Open Window"...a place of hope, encouragement, and adventure as we journey down the road from "Closed Doors" to the new opportunities God places in our pathway. I hope you will take the time to go back and follow the trail of mixed blessings and fears, failures and triumphs from the past and side-trips in the present. Perhaps it will conjure up some of your own special memories, and be an invitation for you to share with others. I look forward to spending this time with you!
What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!
Sunday, December 1, 2019
The First Sunday of Advent 2019-What does that mean?
So wonderful that today is the first Sunday of Advent! What does that mean to you? To me, it is the beginning of the anticipation, preparation, excitement, and reality setting in that Christmas is coming very soon! More than that... the reality that Jesus came to us as a tiny baby, God in human flesh, came to us to live among us, teach us all about the true meaning of life, and prepare us for eternity...and sacrifice His own life on the cross so that we could one day live with Him in heaven...
Here is a beautiful expression of what that was like: From the Cradle to the Cross...
(I was particularly pleased to see this lovely display in our church narthex,
as my son was honored to build the old rugged cross especially for this time.)
This wonderful display greeted us as we entered our Sanctuary this morning...the empty cradle at the foot of the lovely Christmas tree, adorned with golden crowns, angels...under a beautiful Star of Bethlehem, but leaning against an old rugged cross...kind of in the shadows...the cradle in the shadow of the cross. A very poignant reminder of the life that Christ would live here on earth for us...always in the shadow of that cross. But without that cross...where would we be? Without HOPE, that is where we would be.
Today being the first Sunday of Advent, we had our traditional lighting of the first Advent Candle:
The candle of HOPE.
"This morning we light the first candle, the candle of hope. This candle reminds us that God's promises give us reason to be filled with hope~hope for unity in a world of division, hope for healing in a world of pain, and hope for peace in a world filled with anger and strife. We remember that Christ is our light and the source of our hope."
Instead of the traditional prophetic verses from Isaiah 7:14, or Isaiah 9:2-7, about the first Advent of the Messiah, our pastor read today from Luke 21:25-36, which is about Christ's second Advent to the earth. We are warned about the things that are to take place prior to His return, and in verses 27-28, after many signs and wonders have taken place in the heavens and on the earth:
27."Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
Whether or not this takes place at the end of the tribulation, or just prior to, or whenever...no man really knows...but we are to be ready...to keep watching and know the signs of the times so that we are not caught unprepared for that moment. Christ could return at any moment to catch His Bride, the Church, away from the earth. I know I want to be ready and not be left behind.
So Advent is a time to, yes, prepare our hearts anew for the coming of the Babe in the Manger and to remember why He came in the first place...but even more for us as believers, it is a time to prepare our hearts for His second coming...to be watching and waiting...and serving Him now with our talents, time, and offerings...and sharing this Good News of the Gospel with as many as we can while there is yet time. That's what this first Sunday of Advent means to me.