Luke 1:39-55 (click to display NIV text)
December 23, 2012 (Fourth Sunday in Advent)
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

The Christmas story includes the Song of Mary. What she sings is not often found in Christmas carols, and her voice is not heard in Christmas pageants. But her song guides us into the meaning of the birth of Jesus and beyond that to the heart of the Gospel.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Why does Mary rejoice? She goes on to list the reasons for her joy. All the reasons that she mentions are future events, events expressing the justice and victory of God.  They will take place in the future, and yet she speaks of them in the past tense, as if they have already taken place:

  • “He has performed mighty deeds”
  • “He has scattered those who are proud”
  • “He has brought down rulers from their thrones”
  • “He has lifted up the humble”
  • “He has filled the hungry with good things”
  • “He has sent the rich away empty” Read more

Luke 3:1-20 (click to display NIV text)
December 16, 2012 (Third Sunday in Advent)
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’ “

We have been talking in this season about Holy Light, and fire is a type of light. It is light that refines or purifies. John uses the word “fire” twice in what he says here. He says trees that do not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. And he says that the Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Read more

John 1:10-14 (click to display NIV text)
December 9, 2012 (Second Sunday in Advent)
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Wednesday prayer group has been talking about Holy Light and where we are experiencing it in our lives these days. We began by talking about light: the soft afternoon light of winter, its beauty, and if we have time to sit in it, the sense of peace it brings. There is also the bright sunrise light of summer that fills us with energy for the day. There are the lights of Christmas that bring a sense of celebration to the darkness. Then we talked about Holy Light. Holy Light touches us in many ways too, sometimes with peace and sometimes with renewed energy and sometimes with joy and gladness. Holy Light can come through music, through relationships with people, through scripture and prayer. It touches us on a furniture delivery, a morning at the food pantry, the pancakes of family Advent night, and the Christmas program that the FDF puts on for themselves after the smorgasbord. If we are looking and listening, Holy Light touches us in many ways.

This concept of Holy Light comes from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. John begins with the Word, the uncreated presence of God in the beginning, though whom everything was made. John begins with the language of creation, the language of Genesis, as he begins his Gospel of New Creation. The creation came through the Word and the New Creation comes through the Word made flesh, through Jesus Christ. In Genesis 1, the first act of creation is to call light into being. In the Gospel, it is Christ who is the light. Read more

Advent is a special time of year when we wait expectantly for the joy of Christmas. Advent is a season filled with rich imagery, colors and symbols. One of the most powerful images that comes out of this season is that of light. As Christians we journey through advent by lighting candles in preparation of a much larger and brighter light. John says it well in his Gospel, “The true light that gives light to every- one was coming into the world”, and then a few verses later John de- clares this powerful statement, “the word became flesh.” Our focus this advent season is on the task of “rediscovering the light.” It is easy to be overwhelmed by the details of the season and forget the larger event that took place two thousand years ago when God sent his light into the world through the birth of his son.

In years past we have passed out and offered Advent Devotionals. This year instead of a devotional we are giving you a list of possible activities that are meant to help you and your family redis- cover the light of Christ. Our challenge to you is to choose one activity each week during Advent to complete together as a family. We are giving each family four glow sticks one for each week. As you choose and participate in these activities activate one glow stick as a re- minder of the presence of the light of Christ in whichever activity you are completing. You are not limited to four and we have given you a wide variety of activities to choose from for all ages. Enjoy this season of advent and let’s rediscover the light of Christ.

2012 LCC Advent Activity Guide

Luke 21:25-36 (click to display NIV text)
December 2, 2012 (First Sunday in Advent)
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

What was it like to be a follower of Jesus in the early years of the church? The disciples and others watched him be crucified in the year 33. Soon after the beginning of the church, they began to experience opposition and persecution, from the Jewish leaders, then from local communities, and finally from the Romans. During the 60’s there were rebellions, and messianic figures came predicting the end of the world and calling the people to arms. Then in 70, the Romans formed a siege around Jerusalem and waited for them to starve. They destroyed Jerusalem and burned the temple. Josephus wrote of the burning of the temple, “Now many who were emaciated and tongue-tied from starvation, when they beheld the sanctuary on fire, gathered strength once more for lamentations and wailing.” This was a very difficult time to live, filled with anxiety and deep grief. They felt the earth shaking, their security was torn away, and it seemed like all hope was lost.

Just before Jesus was crucified, when he came into Jerusalem, he went to the temple and spoke very honestly about what was to come. In 20 B.C., Herod the Great began the project of rebuilding the temple, doubling its size and making it an astonishing building with gold, marble and precious stones. When Jesus went to the cross, the building project was over 50 years old, and yet it would not be completed until A.D. 64. So it was just 6 years old when the Romans destroyed it, and it had been built for the ages. Jesus then speaks very honestly about what is to come. Read more