Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord.
~ Zechariah 2:10
This year, “I’ll be home for Christmas” is not just a wistful holiday ballad but the reality most of us will be living this holiday season. With the pandemic limiting our travel and holiday festivities, many of us will be home more than usual, possibly on our own and separated from friends and loved ones.
While this may not be what we had hoped for, this Advent invites us to think more intentionally and deeply about the good news of this season – that God came down to earth to dwell with us, to make God’s home with us, in the person of Jesus Christ. The official theological term for this good news is Incarnation, which literally means “embodied in flesh or taking on flesh.” The Incarnation is the belief that God took on human form in the person of Jesus Christ who was both fully divine and fully human. As some of our Advent and Christmas hymns remind us, one of Jesus’ names is Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
If Christmas is the celebration of God’s Incarnation into our world in the birth of Jesus, then Advent is a season of preparation for God’s arrival, not just in the manger, but also in our own hearts and homes and lives. How do we prepare and open our hearts, homes and lives to welcome the baby in the manger who is also the Savior of the world?
Here are some ways to prepare this Advent season:
1) Create your own Advent wreath and light the Advent candles along with us in the worship service each Sunday and on Christmas Eve.
2) Read and reflect on the Daily GIFT Advent devotions which will be emailed every morning and will include a scripture reading and a reflection from one of our church families about how they prepare for Christmas and God’s arrival in their homes.
3) Listen to the Centered in the Season podcast which invites us to stop in the midst of our daily routines and busy lives, to take a deep breath and center ourselves in the true meaning of this season. To listen go to: www.facebook.comfpcyorktown
4) Set up a Jesse tree in your house, using the devotion- al guide available from the church office or creating your own. Find some time each day with your family to read the scripture lesson, put the corresponding ornament on the tree, reflect on your own place in God’s salvation story, and say a prayer.
5) Read along and join our Faith4Life Advent study of the book Christmas in the Four Gospel Homes by Dr. Cynthia Campbell which meets over Zoom on Sunday mornings at 9 am. Books can be ordered online or picked up in the office.
Regardless of who is or isn’t coming home this Christmas, we know that God is definitely going to show up because God has already decided to make his home with us and promised to be with us always. This is the good news we celebrate on Christmas Day and all year long. This is the good news we will continue to celebrate “virtually” in this pandemic season and once we are able to gather together again. This the good news we continue to embody through our words and actions, our ministry and mission together as church. Advent Blessings and Merry Christmas! See you in church,
~Tami and Chip