December 20, 2019
Joy. Our three-year-old grandson spent Wednesday night this week at our house. In the morning we turned on the lights to the Christmas tree and he said, “I like your Christmas tree.” I asked, “You have a tree at your house, right?” He said, “Yes, and one of my trains is set up to go around it.” Then he got a little grin on his face and said quietly to me, “And I put some of my trains on the tree, too!” He began to laugh as I said, “You mean your wooden trains are ON your tree?” “Yes!” he laughed, “isn’t that silly?” I began to laugh, too and we just had a laugh-fest over small wooden trains in a Christmas tree.
We sometimes talk about the joy of children at Christmas. Not only did I get to witness that but it also set me thinking about the reason for Christmas joy—the child Jesus is born, comes to earth, sets his heart on earthly things and joy surrounds his birth. While the joy of our children, including our church children is exhilarating, the joy of Jesus’ coming is vast and deep, wide and long, permeating all of our being. The one about whom the prophets spoke has come to bring hope, peace, and yes…joy.
This Sunday, December 22, we will light the Advent candle of JOY and finish our current sermon series with Christ Coming Again. Sometimes, Christ coming again refers to the “second coming” —the idea that Christ will come and finally claim the earth and its people. Christ coming again can also refer to how Christ comes into our hearts and lives again this Christmas. We’ll talk about both of these “comings” in the message this Sunday.
I’m already letting the joy of Christ’s coming wash over and into me. Led by a child, we come in joy to worship! This Sunday, Dec. 22, we have our regular worship services (8:15; 9:45; and 11:15 a.m.). Then on Christmas Eve, we worship at 11 a.m., 4, 6, 8, and 10 p.m. Worship at the Dove Mountain site is at 2 p.m. Details about the services can be found at umcstmarks.org. We’ll celebrate Holy Communion at 11 a.m., and 6 and 10 p.m. We’ll have candlelighting at 6, 8, and 10 p.m., including using real candles outside in the courtyard at 10 p.m. Invite a friend to Christmas Eve worship.