Advent Season
Most of us get so busy during the season of Advent preparing for the “traditional” Christmas that the true reason for the season gets pushed into the back of our minds, or is totally forgotten. We spend so much on gifts that we can never pay off the credit cards. We cook and eat so much food, we have to spend more money that we don’t have on diet plans and exercise equipment to get our bodies back in shape. And then there are the decorations. They are beautiful, but the extent of the lights both inside and outside our homes causes utility bills to swell. Speaking from personal experience, I just have to have some new decorations each year. Now I have so many “things,” that I don’t have places to set them. Fellowship with friends and family? That can be a good thing, if it is in balance with fellowship with Jesus.
This year, I encourage you to read the weekly scriptures I have highlighted in this article as a way of focusing on Jesus during this busy, sometimes secular, season.

We get so busy that it is hard for God to get our attention. The scriptures are full of stories about how God breaks into our self-absorbed lives. Why is it so hard for God to get our attention?  Isaiah 43:1-3a says--But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Let’s use a familiar carol title to help us focus on this. We need to Hark. We need to pay attention.

John the Baptist came before Jesus to prepare the people to receive God’s Son. John told the people things they didn’t want to hear, but needed to, to be right with God. I hope each of you will read Matthew 3:1-12. The Herald. Hearing what we need to hear.
God’s love is conveyed to us through music. The shepherds around Bethlehem heard a chorus of angels. We at LeValley and Berlin Center are blessed with many who possess musical talents that they share with us. We also have guests coming to celebrate the season with us through music during our Advent worship services. The reference scripture for this paragraph is Luke 2:8-14. Angels sing
“Glory” is what the angels said when confronted with the majesty of God. We, too, sometimes get a glimpse of God’s holiness and awesome power. What should be our response? What do we owe the One on whom Angels wait? Read Isaiah 6:1-8 and Matthew 1:18-25. Glory.
Christmas Eve will be the culmination of all of our preparation. What difference does it make to us that Christ is born? How does the newborn king change our lives? Read Luke 2:1-20. The Newborn King.
This hymn, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” was written by Charles Wesley, the brother of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church. On Christmas Day we are reminded that the Prince of Peace came to earth to reconcile sinful human beings with each other and with God. Read Ephesians 2:13-22. Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
Dr. Greg and I, and our family, hope you are blessed with a wonderful Advent, a beautiful Christmas, and a bountiful New Year. My only request is that over the next few weeks, each of us remember that
“Christmas is not your birthday.”-Reverend Michael Slaughter
Pastor Nancy
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