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the Advent has arrived edition

November 29, 2021


And so it begins. Advent. Our “countdown to Christmas” (as opposed to a “countdown to Christmas festivities”). To the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent (as opposed to the anticipation of gift opening that begins with a calendar filled with cheap chocolate). Advent symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and congregation as we affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.

Our Advent series is focusing on those who were Lost and Found. Yesterday we looked at Gabriel giving Direction; Sunday coming we’ll see the not-so-wise men becoming Lost; the following Sunday we join with the shepherds and their Surprise Find; then our District Superintendent will be with us (we’ll be Visited). Our Christmas Eve service will look at our relationship with the Babe in the manger – that we’ve been Found.

 

Yesterday we were with the angel Gabriel and his visit to Mary, announcing the promise of the birth to come (we also touched on the visit to Zacharias and the announcement of a different miraculous birth).  It was a surprise on many levels. The first surprise was the fact that there was an angel in front of her, then it was the angel telling her that she was blessed by God, and finally there was the announcement that she as a virgin would become pregnant . . . and with the Lord’s Messiah on top of it!

But that was the plan: When the fullness of the time had come [when the right time came, the time God decided on], God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons [Galatians 4:4-5] . . . to bring us back to God. It is our choice to do live “our way” – to eat and to do and to go as we want to. But we are not happy. There is something missing. We wander. We wonder. While we crave satisfaction in life, we are still . . . empty. God says I can fill that emptiness and give you direction. If we will let Him.

Mary said I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. The sacred countdown to Christmas – Advent – is a time to listen to God’s voice and to rediscover His call to us . . . to quiet our hearts . . . to quiet our lives . . . to reflect on that voice.

You can “revisit” our service . . . it can be seen on our Facebook page (click here) and on our YouTube channel (click here). Watch . . . be challenged . . . be blessed. The message transcript is available here on our web site (click here).

 

Tradition holds that next Sunday . . . the Second Sunday of Advent . . . represents faith. The candle lit is also known as Bethlehem’s Candle. Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, which is also the birthplace of King David. In our series – Lost and Found – we will look at the Magi and their journey to Jerusalem. Wise Men? Not so, it seems, as while they may have interpreted the stars correctly, they decided that they know better than God . . . and became Lost.

Join us in our service Sunday morning at 11:00. While some people are still hesitant to be with other people inside a building for an extended period of time, and while our services will continue to be streamed on Facebook (click here) and on YouTube (click here), we can properly social distance in our sanctuary as we meet (be sure to have a vaccination certificate handy). If you prefer to join us on-line, be sure to drop a note to trinityconnects@rogers.com and let us know that you are with us!   

 

We are planning a Christmas Carol sing/Night of Christmas Music, with stories, special song, and (of course!) carols – this Sunday evening at 7:00 pm. All who are comfortable are welcome to join the worship team in the sanctuary. The service will also be streamed on line.

Christmas music . . . Christmas songs . . . Christmas carols . . . the Advent Conspiracy has created a Spotify play list . . . click here and enjoy!

 

Each year during Advent I suggest a reading schedule from the Bible that we can follow together as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Christ-Child. This year rather than just looking at the passages that talk about the birth of Christ, let’s look at His life, reading through the book of Luke, one chapter a day beginning December 1: the manger to the cross – and beyond. November 28 read John 1:1-14; November 29 read Matthew 1; and November 30 read Matthew 2.

 

You might also want to think about a reverse advent calendar. Instead of opening a door to take a treat [mmm, Lindt chocolate!], place a non-perishable food item in a basket each day of Advent and at the end of Advent take the basket to a food bank. Or come up with your own unique idea to make Christmas more about compassionate giving than receiving.

 

Prayer is an integral part of the life of the church . . . I’d go so far as to say that it’s our life-blood as we search for God’s direction and power as a congregation. We continue to meet Wednesday evenings for a time of prayer together through ZOOM: e-mail the church office for log-on information. Please feel free to join us as we unite our hearts to meet with God (and He with us).

 

Mark your calendar: JCL (Jesus Christ Living) will share a musical “concert” leading in music and worship the evening of January 9 – again, the sanctuary will be open for those who feel comfortable gathering, and the service will be streamed on our Facebook site and our YouTube channel.

 

As you give . . . thank you for supporting the work of your church locally and internationally. We continue to receive our tithes and offerings through e-transfer (ottawatrinity@rogers.com) and through the Canada Helps web site (click here); offerings given in the offering plate (which is on the back table for those who wish to use their regular tithe envelopes) are deposited every second week.

 

Thank you for giving to our fulfill our compassionate ministries commitment. Each November we receive a special offering for Eliezer Suarez, who was left an orphan when his parents were killed when Cubana de AviaciĆ³n Flight 972 crashed in May of 2018. We as a church have committed to support him until he reaches 18 years old (3 more years). We also support children through NCMC sponsorship.

 

The overall theme of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is Compassion as a Lifestyle. Jesus said whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me [Matthew 25:40, NIV]. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada gives many opportunities to compassionate involvement, including providing a “compassionate giving catalogue” for Christmas.

Print copies are available; an on-line catalogue can be found by clicking here. The MacMillan family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations can be made in Pastor Al’s memory to NCMC.

 

Thank you for your support this Movember. As you are aware, I am part of the effort to raise money for men’s health – I do this in honour of Cindy’s father, who passed away of cancer at the age of 42. One last time I invite you to click here if you wish to support me in this cause.

There are many other good causes to give to outside of the church as well, and if you let me know that you are raising money for a cause I’ll include it, too.