Ever wake up the day after Christmas wondering if that was really what it was all about? Do you want Christmas to be different? To focus on things that really matter, rather than just things? If you’re ready to experience something more out of Christmas and life then join us in worship on the four Sundays of Advent, beginning November 28. This year First UMC, Hillsboro will experience “A Life-giving Christmas … keepin’ it real” in which we will discover a more meaningful way to celebrate the season and find hope for the New Year. We will have opportunities to experience community in service and service to the community. We will have the opportunity to pray and reflect on the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love the season of Advent announces and brings. This Christmas we invite you to experience authentic joy … joy that doesn’t come with a price tag.
But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all you day-by-by obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering an grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
Now consider these questions:
- Where does time with God fall on today’s “to do” list?
- How is God at work today? Where is hope?
- What is your deepest hope this Christmas?
Individual challenge: Name three things you will do differently this Advent season, substituting things that bring renewed hope and faith, rather than depleting energy and bank accounts.
Practical application: You are encouraged to “fridge journal” throughout the season of Advent – keep a notepad on or near the refrigerator and jot down a time when God got you through something that, at the time, may have seemed hopeless. Now look for ways to share that hope with people in the community. Share Christ’s hope, and your hope will be increased as well. Send a card to someone in the nursing home, write a note to a youth who may be having a tough time, or call someone to reconnect.