A friend of mine recently told me that his son, commenting on the crazy crowds each Black Friday, said, "Thanksgiving is followed by Thanksgetting". You may have seen this meme:
This coming Sunday, November 29th, is the beginning of the Christmas season according to the traditional Church calendar. Actually, it's known as the Advent Season. Advent is an English version of the Latin word "adventus" which means "coming". It consists of the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas and is a time of looking forward to the coming of Jesus into the world.
For most of the United States the coming of Jesus is of little interest and the Christmas season began a few weeks ago. It was ushered in by decorations, music, TV movies and specials, and plenty of advertisements. In the words of Lucy from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, "Christmas is a big commercial racket."
So how can we avoid being swept away by the secular version of the Christmas season? It starts by taking a moment to stop and consider why Jesus came to earth in the first place. What does the gift of Jesus mean and what do we have to gain? Let me tell you: it makes the Black Friday deals pale in comparison!
I hope you'll be able to join us this Advent season as we'll be using the Charlie Brown Christmas special as a way to look at the Christmas story and what it means for all of us no matter what time of year it happens to be. You may want to invite friends or family to come with you. Many people are more open to invitations to church during this time of year and you can tell them we'll be watching cartoons as part of the morning!
Each year the NCAA presents the Heisman trophy to the nation's top college football player. The honor recognizes the talent and hard work that has resulted in outstanding performance on the playing field. The winners usually go on to an impressive career as a professional football player (although not all of them have lived up to expectations).
Meanwhile, each week in the fall there are millions of fans who fill stadiums around the country and are glued to television sets for every game. These fans wear their team's jersey and sport clothing, flags, bumper stickers and countless items that tell everyone where their loyalties lie. They talk about how "we won" and feel that they're a part of their team's success. However, while they yell from the stands, they don't really make any difference in their team's performance (other than the emotional encouragement their cheering offers). If a super fan were to receive a trophy it would probably look more like this:
Church can sometimes look like a football stadium: 50,000 people in the stands who are in desperate need of exercise yelling at 22 people on the field in desperate need of some rest. As we talked about a few weeks back, God has SHAPEd every one of his followers in a unique ways so that they can each serve actively to build up the Body of Christ and further the Gospel. Are you sitting in the stands or are you on the field?
This Sunday, November 8th, we'll be continuing our series "Better Together" and look at our vision to be a community of Spiritual Contributors. We'll be sharing about current places where you can plug into ministry and give you the opportunity to explore a spot that fits you. I hope you'll be able to join us.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church